By Carolyn Whetzel, Bloomberg News
Rooftop solar customers of California's three investor-owned utilities will continue to get paid full retail rates for the excess energy their systems generate, under a net metering program the California Public Utilities Commission approved Jan. 28.
In a 3-2 vote, the California Public Utilities Commission updated the existing net energy metering structure. The decision preserved a provision requiring Pacific Gas & Electric Co., Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. to pay rooftop solar customers the full retail rate for electricity they add to the grid.
The California Solar Industries Association said the decision maintains the full retail credit for net metering for 20 years. The updated program also expands access to solar for renters and retains access for farmers, the group said.
“We all know that California is a world leader when it comes to being ‘green,' ” CALSEIA Executive Director Bernardette Del Chiaro said in a written statement. “But today's vote is more than that. It is about California continuing to champion innovation and a different way of doing things, in this case, building a smarter energy grid and allowing individual consumers to generate their own clean energy.”
The new net metering program is effective once existing solar customers meet current participation caps, or July 1, 2017, whichever occurs first, the commission said.