Diverse Group of Organizations Get Behind AB 2163: Bill Would Help Stranded Solar Families in Coachella and Imperial Valleys

SACRAMENTO – August 24, 2016 – A broad and diverse coalition of twenty non-profit organizations and business groups have sent letters to key legislators in support of AB 2163 (Williams), which requires the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) to make net energy metering (NEM) available to all of the solar customers left stranded by a crisis created by IID themselves earlier this year.

Last February, IID abruptly ended their NEM solar program without any notice to the public and without an alternative program in place. This caught hundreds of solar customers who were already in the process of investing in a rooftop solar system in state of “solar limbo” where they have been unable to turn their rooftop solar systems on ever since.   

Support for AB 2163 was directed at Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), Chair of the Senate Energy Committee and Assembly member Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), both representatives for the Imperial region, as well as Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, the Governor’s staff and members of the Senate Energy Committee.

The organizations supporting passage of this bill include GRID Alternatives, California Building Industry Association, TechNet, Brightline Defense Project, Environment California, Climate Resolve, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Grid Alternatives, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), California League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG), the American Sustainable Business Council, William C. Velazquez Institute, GreenLatinos, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), 350 Bay Area, Climate Action Campaign, Sierra Club, Presente.org and the Hip Hop Caucus along with local solar companies and their stranded customers.

The letters note that among the 1,200 stranded customers are ten multi-family affordable housing projects, two State of California correctional facilities, and dozens of low-income families. IID has not taken action to fix the problem to date, which has put at risk federal and state funding for affordable housing projects, taxpayer dollars already spent on state building projects, and solar contracts that have already been executed by homeowners.

“The strong support from this diverse group of community organizations shows that AB 2163 is a must-pass for the California Senate,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, Executive Director of CALSEIA. “We must take care of these solar customers and honor the investment they’ve made in a cleaner, more affordable future.”