California proposes to raise owners' fees for rooftop solar systems

California regulators on Monday proposed to require people with rooftop solar panels to pay a greater portion of the costs of operating ...


California regulators on Monday proposed to require people with rooftop solar panels to pay a greater portion of the costs of operating the electricity grid, a plan that some clean energy proponents say could dramatically reduce electricity costs. ‘incentive for new residential installations.

The California Public Utilities Commission proposal would impose higher utility charges on people who install solar panels on their homes and, over time, on homeowners who already have them. The impact could be significant because about 1.2 million California homes are equipped with solar panels, more than in any other state, and the state’s approach is often copied by regulators elsewhere.

Electric utilities and solar installers have long battled over how much money homeowners have to pay to connect to the grid and how much they can expect to earn in credits from the electricity their roof panels produce. and send to the network. California and many other states generally allow these customers to earn credits equivalent to retail electricity rates. These credits can reduce utility bills, sometimes even to zero dollars.

Utilities like Pacific Gas & Electric, the largest in California, have argued that this credit system, known as net metering, is not fair to people without solar panels who must bear the costs of network operation. Solar installers argue that the system fairly compensates homeowners and encourages greater use of renewable energy.

In their new proposal, California utility regulators appeared to suggest they agreed with the utility’s point of view and said its current approach to net metering “is having a negative impact on non-participating customers; is not profitable; and disproportionately harms low-income taxpayers.

State utilities, which called for significant changes in rooftop solar policies, welcomed the proposal. It will now be subject to public comment and a final Public Services Commission vote, expected on January 27.

“Sensible reform is needed to support customer value and help continue California’s success toward a clean energy future,” PG&E said in a statement.

The proposal angered the solar industry, which said the higher fees proposed by the commission were excessive. The California Solar and Storage Association said an average home with solar panels would see its monthly energy costs increase by more than 50% under the commission’s plan.

The association said the average solar customer in areas served by PG&E currently pays around $ 133 per month for the cost of their system and for the energy they use from the grid. The proposed decision would increase this amount to approximately $ 215.

“This is a proposal to kill solar energy on rooftops overnight,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the National Solar Energy Association. “It’s a disaster.”

Sean Gallagher, vice president of state and regulatory affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association, a national business group, said his organization had proposed less drastic measures to balance any disparities that may exist between people with solar systems and those who don’t. He said the proposed tariffs were so high that California would move from being a leading developer of solar power to charging more for panels than any other state.

“The rate is higher than anywhere else in the country,” said Gallagher. “It’s higher than in Alabama, which previously had the highest installed capacity charge. This is exactly what the utilities were looking for.

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Newsrust - US Top News: California proposes to raise owners' fees for rooftop solar systems
California proposes to raise owners' fees for rooftop solar systems
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