IID Agrees to Help Stranded Solar Customers

CALSEIA-negotiated agreement will give net metering to over 1000 stranded solar customers in the Imperial and Coachella Valleys

Sacramento - With just a few hours left in the state legislative session, the Imperial Irrigation District agreed to help over 1000 solar consumers who had been stranded for over six months, most with solar systems on their roofs and facing a very uncertain future. These 1000-plus consumers will be allowed to benefit from a pro-solar program called Net Energy Metering.

“While we had a more comprehensive solution in mind, what IID agreed to today gives relief to the vast majority of stranded solar customers in the Imperial and Coachella valleys,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA). “We want to recognize the significant effort of IID staff in reaching this agreement and appreciate the Board’s willingness to agree to solve this problem.”

The agreement came in the form of a letter from IID’s general manager addressed to Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) who represents the Imperial Valley and chairs the Senate Energy Committee. A bill, AB 2163 by Assembly member Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara), would have required IID to give net metering to all of IID’s customers who had executed a contract for solar prior to July 19, 2016, when IID adopted a successor rooftop solar program.  The bill advanced to the Senate Energy Committee last night, but will now not be heard as a result of this administrative agreement reached today. Today is the last day of the legislative session.

The IID letter offers to give net metering to all customers who did one of the following:

  • Submitted an interconnection application to IID prior to April 1, 2016
  • Applied for an IID solar rebate prior to February 5, 2016, and who submits an interconnection application by October 1, 2016
  • Received a valid building permit or paid for a permit prior to April 1, 2016 and who submits an interconnection agreement by October 1, 2016

According to estimates by CALSEIA, these parameters will qualify over 1200 customers for net metering, including eight affordable housing projects that were also caught in this state of limbo.

On February 29, 2016, the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) ended their Net Energy Metering (NEM) program without any forewarning to consumers or the solar industry, stranding hundreds of consumers in the Imperial and Coachella Valleys who had already signed contracts to go solar, and, in many cases, had a solar system on their roof.

After six months of negotiations, including several failed attempts to resolve the problem administratively, CALSEIA sought resolution from the state legislature. AB 2163 was amended in August as a last-ditch effort to seek relief for thousands of homeowners, renters and businesses in IID territory.

“We want to thank Senator Ben Hueso, Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia and Assembly Member Das Williams for their recognition of this consumer crisis and their willingness to push for a solution,” said Del Chiaro. “This is an important day for solar consumers in the Imperial and Coachella valleys, but also for consumers around the state.”

As CALSEIA recognizes this significant resolution in IID territory, the association points out that the ability to go solar is severely impaired by IID’s successor net billing program adopted on July 19, 2016.

“While we helped customers who invested in solar in the recent past, today’s agreement does nothing to help consumers who want to go solar in the future,” stated Del Chiaro. “We would like to build upon today’s compromise agreement and work with IID staff and board to modify their successor solar program to make it possible for consumers to invest in rooftop solar going forward.”

Net metering is a program that credits solar consumers for the surplus electricity they export to the grid. The program has helped fuel the transformational growth of solar in IID and across the state, making it more affordable for everyone including low and moderate-income consumers. Publically owned utilities and irrigation districts, like IID, are not regulated by the state Public Utilities Commission, which voted this past February to protect net metering for customers of the state’s investor owned utilities, such as Southern California Edison, to in part avoid the scenario played out in IID territory these past six months. As a result, each publically owned utility decides for themselves what the rooftop solar market looks like going forward.

"This agreement will definitely benefit our Eastern Valley low income tenants  and will help us generate electricity savings for our developments,” said Julie Bornstein, executive director of the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition. 

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.”

CALSEIA Honors Two California Legislators with Life-time Achievement Awards

Senator Fran Pavley and Assembly Member Das Williams Recognized for their work to promote solar energy through public policy


Sacramento – August 10, 2016 - At its annual Solar Worker Lobby Day, the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) honored two California legislators for their outstanding work to promote the use of solar energy through public policy.


Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) and Assembly Member Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) were honored with a “Life-time Achievement” award before a crowd of solar workers and executives from around the state who had gathered in Sacramento to lobby state legislators about the importance of solar energy in creating jobs, saving consumers money, and providing energy solutions throughout the state.


“The emergence of California’s solar industry as a meaningful source of reliable and clean electricity has depended largely on the vision and hard work of policy makers, like Senator Pavley and Assembly member Williams, who have fought long and hard to give consumers the ability to change the direction of our energy future one roof at a time,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of CALSEIA. “Our hundreds of businesses and over 75,000 employees owe these two leaders a life-time of gratitude for their outstanding policy work over many years.”


A CALSEIA Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Senator Fran Pavley along with recognition of her pioneering work to cap carbon emissions and advance alternative energy technologies, including solar panels as well as zero-pollution vehicles.


“One of the most gratifying outcomes of my work in the Legislature on clean energy over the last fourteen years has been the phenomenal success of California’s solar industry,” said Senator Fran Pavley in accepting her award. “You’ve proved what we’ve always said was possible: We can clean our environment and create jobs at the same time. More than 75,000 solar industry workers in this state are proving that the power of the sun is shining brightly on California’s economy -- to the benefit of consumers, healthy communities and the families of tens of thousands of skilled and dedicated workers. While I am gratified by your recognition of my work in the legislature, I am much more gratified by the tremendous contributions your industry and its workers are making every day to make California a healthier and more prosperous state.”


A CALSEIA Lifetime Achievement award was also presented to Assembly member Das Williams who was an early promoter of rooftop solar policies, authoring bills intended to increase consumer access to sunshine-generated electricity.


“I am deeply honored to receive this award from CALSEIA,” said Assembly member Das Williams. “In fifty years our children and grandchildren will evaluate whether to curse or praise us based on what we did or failed to do about climate change and clean energy.  More than anything else during my career in the assembly, I have pushed both legislatively and administratively to ensure that California has a brighter and cleaner future by fighting for aggressive renewable energy goals and efficient permitting for small and large solar projects around the state. Together, we have made a difference for our state’s future.”


CALSEIA presented each of the honorees with a tee-shirt that read “Keep Calm and Solar On” and a solar-powered charging device for portable technologies. Senator Pavley and Assembly Member Williams are termed out in 2016. Both leave behind an outstanding track record of promoting clean solutions. 

SunSpark Technology Inc Joins Industry Leaders in Growing California’s Solar Industry

Sunspark Technology Inc. becomes newest CALSEIA member.



SunSpark Technology Inc. has become the newest member of the nation’s largest state solar power trade association, the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA).

“We are proud to have SunSpark Technology Inc.  join CALSEIA to support its mission of expanding the use of clean, solar technologies throughout the state.  CALSEIA members are recognized as being true leaders in the California market as they promote high standards within the industry and advocate fair policies for solar consumers. We look forward to working closely with SunSpark Technology Inc.  in continuing this work,” says Bernadette Del Chiaro, Executive Director of CALSEIA.

SunSpark Technology Inc. was established in 2015. From its Riverside location, with the intent and goal of becoming a solar panel assembly and manufacturing company within the U.S. SunSpark Tech offers a variety of solar power panels; allowing its clients to choose the most appropriate system and wattage that will best meet their needs.

Due to their support of residential DG in California, CALSEIA is our first choice of solar trade associations. We believe that SunSpark Park can not only increase our business relationships with state partners but create more benefits for people who are eager to own US-made solar panels.

SunSpark Technology Inc. joins CALSEIA after being carefully vetted and approved through the association’s application process, which ensures member companies adhere to industry best practices.

Founded in 1977, CALSEIA, the California Solar Energy Industries Association, represents manufacturers, installers, financers, and distributors of solar panels and related components and technologies throughout the state.


SunSpark Technology Inc., hereafter known as SunSpark Tech, is a U.S. business situated at 3080 12th St., in Riverside, California with approximately 35,000 sq. ft.

From its Riverside location, SunSpark Tech will have better control over its product assembly and manufacturing and service distribution channels, sales and customer service departments, as well as billing and business management, which in turn is very beneficial in keeping costs down and quality standards high. As the images above show, SunSpark Tech’s location is sufficiently large and spacious, where products are received, assembled, stored, and shipped to the customers.

Talesun Becomes Diamond Sponsor of CALSEIA’s Signature Networking Party

Event brings together industry leaders and supports continued growth of the California solar industry

Sacramento – July 1, 2016 - CALSEIA is proud to announce Talesun as the Diamond Sponsor for this year’s Solar Summerfest, the official networking party of Intersolar North America, happening July 12th at the CityView Metreon in San Francisco.

Talesun Solar is a leading company of photovoltaic modules, solutions, and services continuing global market share expansion with its total 2.8 MW solar cell and module manufacturing bases in Thailand and China. “We are thrilled to have Talesun as Solar Summerfest’s Diamond Sponsor this year,” said Kelsea Jones, Membership & Marketing Director for CALSEIA. “Companies who support this event not only do it for the great visibility and fun at a major solar conference, but to show support for CALSEIA’s work. For Talesun to sponsor at this level shows major commitment to the health and strength of California’s solar industry.”

The event is expected to attract over 2,000 people and features a Back-to-the-80’s theme celebrating this iconic decade with retro-themed appetizers, drinks, and live entertainment.

“Given the solar industry’s history, we thought it would be fun to celebrate the fact that, thanks to our landmark wins on issues like net energy metering and the federal tax credit, we can enjoy 80's cultural phenomena but avoid re-living its solar market disasters,” said Ms. Jones.

The signature prop of the event will be a Talesun-branded DeLorean Time Machine that will be parked inside Moscone Center on the day of the event. Attendees will be able to see inside the time machine and take pictures with props and characters. In addition, the Solar Summerfest event will feature a Talesun themed area with a bar, seating, and food, where attendees can meet and mingle with the Talesun team and see product samples.

Solar Summerfest will take place Tuesday July 12, 2016 from 5pm-10pm at the Metreon CityView. Tickets can be purchased at www.calseia.org or through www.intersolar.us and helps support CALSEIA’s mission.

Statement by the California Solar Energy Industries Association on the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant Retirement Joint Proposal

June 21, 2016 -- CALSEIA would like to first acknowledge the historic nature of this agreement that promises to shutter the last remaining nuclear power plant in California. We also applaud the call for the replacement power to come from 100% carbon-free resources. Given the state’s pre-existing carbon reduction and renewable energy laws and goals, it would have been ill conceived and difficult to do otherwise.  

The anti-nuclear movement and its embrace of solar power as a superior alternative to nuclear fission is the very foundation of California’s worldwide status as a renewable energy leader. In turn, California’s clean energy renaissance has laid the groundwork to move beyond nuclear power. So, it is only fitting to replace PG&E’s Diablo Canyon power plant with efficiency and renewable energy technologies. We should not lose sight of the fact that it was the decisions of over 100,000 Californians to go solar on their own homes and businesses, along with utility renewable procurement mandated by state law, that have eroded the case to re-license Diablo Canyon.   

Moving forward, California needs to ensure that customer-sited renewables, commonly referred to as “rooftop solar,” continue to grow and contribute to California’s clean energy future in addition to utility-procured resources. This important resource is notably missing from this agreement. PG&E’s customers are investing in solar by the tens of thousands on their rooftops, farms, businesses, and schools. It is no small oversight to ignore the contribution of customer-sited renewables which could replace Diablo Canyon by 2025 under current growth conditions. With the right tariffs in place, customer-sited solar energy will support our transition to clean energy in even more significant ways than it does today.

Further, allowing the utilities to rate base additional generation that could otherwise be built, in part, through customer investments is not necessarily in the ratepayers’ best interest. The location and quantity of new PG&E-owned generation resources should derive from a thoughtful, long-term plan to ensure the new resource procurement is justified. Consumer choice and preferences need to be front and center in these decisions.

In closing, we applaud the agreement that calls for the closure of California’s last-standing nuclear power plant. It is nothing short of historic and incredibly important for public health, safety, and the environment. We applaud all those individuals who have worked tirelessly over the decades to accomplish this feat. We look forward to making sure that all forms of renewable energy, including those resources that are built, sited and controlled by consumers, are part of California’s nuclear-free and clean energy future. 

Bill to Boost Rooftop Solar Thermal Passes Committee

Bill to Reduce Natural Gas Use Through Solar Energy Advances in California Legislature with Aliso Canyon Leak as Backdrop

SACRAMENTO — Today the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee passed AB 2460 (Irwin) by a vote of 10-3. The bill would expand consumer incentives for rooftop solar thermal technologies that can reduce natural gas demand within a building by up to 80%.  The bill is part of a response to the leak at Aliso Canyon and efforts to reduce California’s natural gas use statewide, meet greenhouse gas reduction goals, and improve reliability. 

"I am pleased the committee took the important step of moving this bill forward," said Assembly member Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), author of the bill. "Using California's abundant sunshine to do something as simple as heating water is sensible for our state and a key way to diversify our energy resources, protect public health, and clean up our air."  

The bill extends consumer rebates for solar heating technologies that directly reduce natural gas usage in buildings. The largest markets for solar thermal technologies, such as solar water heaters, are commercial swimming pools, such as at schools, and multi-family housing buildings. Under the program extended by AB 2460, consumers would get an upfront rebate as well as be eligible for the 30% federal tax credit. A typical residential solar hot water system costs around $6,000 before rebates.

The bill was advanced as part of a response to the leak at Aliso Canyon and the general realization that California is heavily dependent on a narrow supply of natural gas. Efforts to reduce demand, especially in summer months, are an important part of the state’s efforts to maintain energy reliability and protect consumers. Consider these facts:

  • Approximately 50% of the demand for Aliso Canyon is used in buildings, energy that solar heating technologies can provide with no pollution or safety threats.
  • If a solar water heating project were installed on just 7% of the multi-family buildings in the Los Angeles area, it would offset the annual natural gas demand for all buildings served by withdrawals from Aliso Canyon.
  • California homes and businesses use 2.5 billion therms of natural gas annually to heat water, which is equal to the total storage capacity of natural gas in the state, including Aliso Canyon.
  • If the authorized funding level within AB 2460 were approved, the expected savings from the program would annually offset as much natural gas use as the amount leaked from Aliso Canyon.

The bill reported out of the Assembly Committee today would extend California Solar Initiative (CSI) Thermal program funding for ten years through 2027, providing certainty to the growing solar water heating market. The bill would also target significant resources for solar thermal on low-income housing and buildings in disadvantaged communities.  Demand for solar water heating in low-income multifamily housing buildings is high, accounting for nearly half of the applications in 2015. AB 2460 would also ensure that the maximum rebate cap works for industrial customers, enabling solar thermal systems for the largest users of natural gas.    

“To meet our statewide climate change goals and address the challenges posed by Aliso Canyon, we need consistent consumer access to the sun,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association, sponsor of the bill. “We thank Assembly member Irwin for her leadership on this important issue.”

Bill to Increase Access to Rooftop Solar Passes Assembly Utilities & Commerce Committee

AB 2339 Seeks to Give All California Consumers Equal Access to Rooftop Solar Regardless of Utility Territory

SACRAMENTO — The Assembly Utilities & Commerce Committee voted yesterday in support of Assembly Bill 2339 (Irwin/Low) by an 10-2 vote.  AB 2339 now proceeds to the Assembly floor.

In California, where you live dictates whether or not you have access to net energy metering, a critical policy making rooftop solar accessible for all consumers.  Californians living in the territory of a municipal utility (e.g., Sacramento and Los Angeles) have less assurance in state law that they can adopt solar.  AB 2339 aims to make rooftop solar equally available in all utilities across the state, including the state’s largest municipal utilities. AB 2339 would align the methodology used to calculate existing caps on net metering in municipal utility territories with the methodology used by the state’s three largest investor owned utilities, establishing consistency throughout the state.

“At its core, this is a consumer protection bill,” said Assembly member Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), author of the bill. “Everyone in California should have equal access to solar energy regardless of what city they live in."

“Solar energy makes sense everywhere in California,” said Assembly member Evan Low (D-Campbell), co-author of the bill. “Rooftop solar brings jobs, cleaner air, and energy reliability for all Californians.”

“Rooftop solar power has always made sense in California, and the accident at Aliso Canyon makes this solution even more apparent,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association. “Protecting net metering for all consumers is key to tapping into California’s abundant and clean solar energy, creating jobs, and saving consumers money.”

The vote by the Assembly Utilities & Commerce Committee is a strong signal that the State Legislature will be responsive to voters and consumers and give all Californians equal access to clean energy. CALSEIA commends the Committee Chair Mike Gatto and other committee members for recognizing the real and tangible benefits of solar—consumer choice, statewide job creation, a cleaner, affordable and more reliable electricity grid, and healthier air.

In January, the California Public Utilities Commission voted to protect net energy metering for consumers living in investor-owned utility territories of Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric. California has nearly forty municipal utilities and irrigation districts required to offer net energy metering under different and less favorable rules. Together, they service over three million California customers and include such large cities as Los Angeles, Sacramento, Burbank, Pasadena, Anaheim, Modesto, Riverside, and Roseville.  Many of the state’s municipal utilities still rely on coal-fired power plants in the Southwest for electricity supplies. 

Rooftop Solar Heating & Solar Electric Technologies Part of Aliso Canyon Solution

Statewide and Regional Programs Needed to Put Solution in Hands of Consumers

SACRAMENTO— Today the Brown Administration released an action plan to address the natural gas reliability concerns created by the Aliso Canyon leak in southern California.  The action plan included steps to increase installations of rooftop solar technologies that can reduce natural gas demand in the region as one of many tools that can help avoid blackouts and brownouts this summer. Local rooftop solar energy technologies, including solar water heating, solar space heating, and solar electric systems, can play a meaningful role in reducing dependence on natural gas and meeting greenhouse gas reduction goals in the near and long-term.

“Aliso Canyon shows us that natural gas is not safe or environmentally friendly, despite the “natural” descriptor,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA).  “Instead of burning gas to heat water and run power plants on summer days when the sun shines brightest upon our cities, California should continue to aggressively support solar technologies in Los Angeles and statewide now and into the future.”

Solar heating technologies can directly reduce natural gas usage in buildings. Approximately 25% of the demand for Aliso Canyon is used in buildings, energy that solar heating technologies can provide with no pollution or safety threats. In fact, if a solar heating project were installed on just 7% of the multi-family buildings in the Los Angeles area, it would offset the annual natural gas demand for all buildings served by Aliso Canyon. Further, California homes and businesses use 2.5 billion therms of natural gas annually to heat water, which is equal to the total storage capacity of natural gas in the state, including Aliso Canyon.

In addition, peak-time demand for natural gas-generated electricity can be offset with solar heating systems paired with chiller technologies, as well as, solar electric, or photovoltaic, technologies. The National Renewable Energy Lab recently published a report showing that California could technically install nearly 80 gigawatts of rooftop solar – a capacity equal to forty nuclear power plants.

CALSEIA is encouraging policy makers to step up their commitments and actions intended to increase the installation of rooftop solar technologies in southern California, and statewide. Specific policy recommendations include:

  • Pass AB 2460 (Irwin) to expand consumer incentives for solar heating technologies.
  • Pass AB 2339 (Irwin/Low) to extend access to rooftop solar electric technologies for consumers of municipal utilities. California’s municipal utilities remain heavily invested in out-of-state coal-fired power plants and need to do more to encourage and invest in renewable energy.
  • LADWP should voluntarily allow power purchase agreements for solar systems to help drive more solar installations in the Los Angeles basin.
  • Cities and counties should comply with AB 2188 (Muratsuchi) and ensure streamlined permitting programs are set up for both solar heating and solar electric technologies to reduce unnecessary delays and costs.
  • All utilities should streamline interconnection processes to avoid unnecessary costs and delays as well as support solar-friendly rate structures.

“To meet our statewide climate change goals and address the challenges posed by Aliso Canyon, we need consistent consumer access to the sun.  Today’s action plan is one important step but there is much more California must do to tap into this no-brainer energy solution,” added Del Chiaro. “Ultimately consumers need unfettered and economically viable access to solar powe. Given our monopoly-dominated energy industry, policy makers are going to have to step in and make this happen.”

San Diegans gather to protest SDG&E’s greed, pleading for a sustainable future

Ratepayer money spent by SDG&E to bully their watchdog to benefit shareholders

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (March 17, 2016) – A passionate crowd of local clean energy advocates gathered at San Diego Gas & Electric’s Corporate Campus in Kearny Mesa yesterday. The protest was in response to the investor-owned utility’s recent rebellion against its own watchdog, a move in which solar advocates say is to derail a competitive industry.

On January 28, after a 22-month proceeding, the California Public Utilities Commission made a final decision about the future of solar in California known as net metering 2.0. The decision was considered a compromise for the utilities and solar advocates. Unsatisfied with the January outcome, however, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE) filed to legally challenge the decision on March 7.  

“State regulators need to stand firm and not cave into pressure from SDG&E and other giant utilities to gut our booming rooftop solar industry,” said San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob. “SDG&E and its fat-cat executives don’t like competition, but San Diego ratepayers deserve real energy options.”

After reviewing a mountain of filings from the utilities and others, the Commission decided to firmly reject proposals from the utilities to replace net metering with complicated schemes that would have prevented most customers from going solar. While the January 28 decision makes significant changes to net metering, such as requiring customers to pay an upfront application fee, pay an ongoing monthly fee required by all customers and be subject to time-varying rates, SDG&E has again requested major changes that would put solar out of reach for a majority of homeowners.

"The desperate quest of the monopoly utilities to take away the freedom of families to become energy independent only proves the urgent need to break up the monopoly and provide permanent freedom of energy choice to all families and businesses,” said Nicole Capretz, executive director of the Climate Action Campaign. “It's the American way and the quickest way to transition to a clean energy future."

The city of San Diego has a Climate Action Plan goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2035.  This would make San Diego the largest city fully powered by renewable energy. The San Diego rooftop solar industry, which is second in the nation per capita, is currently providing a $1 billion economic benefit to San Diego County. That amount is slated to increase once the Climate Action Plan goes into effect, but would be extremely difficult to achieve if SDG&E’s requests are granted.

“Our local, state and national governments have sent a clear message that solar is here to stay but SDG&E refuses to accept these policy objectives and would rather cling on their antiquated fossil fuel business model,” said Daniel Sullivan, founder and president of Sullivan Solar Power. “I encourage all San Diegans, all Californians, to join us. Let’s leave fossil fuels and those who produce it in the past, and let’s move forward, united, with our eyes set on a clean energy economy, so that our children and our grandchildren will enjoy a better future.”

Other testimonials at the protest included emotional pleas for the Commission to take a stand and support solar for environmental, economic, social and health benefits.  

“We’re here to call on the California Public Utilities Commission to stand by their decision to keep net metering in place so that other homeowners can put solar on their roof supporting healthy neighborhoods, the state’s climate goals and local jobs,” said Alby Quinlan, an Encinitas solar homeowner and member of SanDiego350.org.

The protest was co-organized by San Diego350.org, the Sierra Club, the Climate Action Campaign and the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA).

"For my generation, a fossil fuel monopoly is a dinosaur that belongs in a museum," said Alejandro Montes, Sierra Club leader and San Diego City College student. “We expect clean energy and a choice today."

The California Public Utilities Commission has 120 days to respond to the utilities’ request for a rehearing and has yet to comment on this topic publicly.

Media Contact:

Tara Kelly


California Solar Energy Industries Association, San Diego



California Utilities Escalate Their Attack on Solar

PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E Challenge State Decision to Protect Net Metering

Sacramento—California’s three large investor-owned utilities yesterday submitted a legal challenge to the January decision by the California Public Utilities Commission to continue net metering. The application for rehearing from PG&E asks the Commission to vacate the decision. This would effectively prevent customers from installing solar after the current rules expire if the Commission’s legal division agrees to further review. The other two utilities request major changes that would put solar out of reach for a majority of customers.

The CPUC proceeding to consider changes to net metering has already spanned 22 months and extended one month past the statutory deadline imposed by the state legislature. After reviewing a mountain of filings from the utilities and others, the Commission decided to firmly reject proposals from the utilities to replace net metering with complicated schemes that would have prevented most customers from going solar. 

“The utilities are continuing their legal maneuvers because it is disruptive to the solar industry,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA). “Rather than working in partnership with solar companies and striving to reduce costs for customers, utilities would prefer to be obstructionists and muck up the market.”

Even though the January 28 decision, so-called NEM 2.0, rejected the utilities’ proposals, the decision does make significant changes to net metering. It requires customers to pay an upfront fee, pay an ongoing monthly fee, and be subject to time-varying rates. The Commission stated that it will continue re-evaluating the rules, but intends to change the rules gradually so that customers continue to have the opportunity to install solar power and the industry has time to continue lowering prices.

“The utilities continue to use false analysis to claim that net metering is a massive subsidy,” said Brad Heavner, policy director for CALSEIA. “Rather than accepting the Commission’s decision and allowing their customers to go solar under fair rules, the utilities are fighting to keep opportunities away from their customers.”

The new net metering rules will not affect current solar customers or those who install solar before utilities meet their caps on the current rules. That is expected in April for SDG&E, October for PG&E, and early 2017 for SCE. If the Commission does not grant the applications for rehearing, the new rules should be in place in time to allow a smooth transition. 


Bernadette Del Chiaro, 916-765-3224
Brad Heavner, 415-328-2683

California Solar Jobs Top 75,000


Sacramento- As a direct result of California’s long-standing commitment to clean energy and technological innovation, the state’s solar employment ranks grew 38% in 2015, adding over 20,000 new jobs and hitting an all-time of high of 75,598 solar jobs, according to the latest report by The Solar Foundation, “California Solar Jobs Census 2015.”

The California solar industry praised local policy makers for their continued support of this new clean energy market, pointing to recent decisions around net energy metering, extension of the federal investment tax credit, and the state’s 50% by 2030 renewable portfolio standard in SB 350 (de León) – all that help create certainty and consumer adoption of alternative ways of generating power.

“Solar power is a bright spot in California’s economy, bringing jobs and economic development to every corner of the state,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA). “While conventional energy industries are losing jobs, we are seeing record growth, and bringing clean air and climate solutions along the way.”

The Solar Foundation also studied the job growth in other states and concluded that while California is by far the nation’s leader in solar development and job growth, there are other markets worth watching.  In fact, thirty-three states, including the District of Columbia, saw positive solar jobs growth over the past year, and many states experienced double‐digit growth.

“Solar job creation is booming across the country. California’s 20,000 new jobs marks an industry milestone—but states like Utah, Colorado, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Virginia demonstrate the regional diversity of the industry’s growth,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation. “Our data since 2012 show that half the states in the country have at least doubled their solar workforce.”

Other California solar jobs facts:

  • Installation companies, driven mainly by the “rooftop” sector, are responsible for 54% of all solar jobs in California, totaling 40,597, and saw a 29% growth rate in 2015.  
  • Sales and distribution jobs were the second most numerous, with 11,223 jobs statewide, and showing a nearly 50% growth over the previous year.
  • A very close third, in-state solar manufacturing sector jobs also grew in 2015 to a total of 11,183 solar jobs in California.
  • Last but not least, jobs within the project development sector--typically focused on large commercial projects on farms and big commercial buildings as well as utility-scale developments--grew at a fast rate, adding nearly 6,000 solar workers in 2015. Such growth may have been driven by fears around the reduction in the federal tax credit.
  • CALSEIA reports that California’s 75,598 solar jobs exceed the employment of the state’s five largest utilities combined (Pacific Gas & Electric: 20,000; Southern California Edison: 13,600; Los Angeles Department of Water and Power: 8,800; San Diego Gas & Electric: 5,000; and Sacramento Municipal Utility District: 2007 – all total 49,407 utility jobs statewide).

“CALSEIA applauds The Solar Foundation for their excellent research and for educating the public about the job growth that comes from investments in solar energy,” said Del Chiaro. “Part of what makes renewable energy so unique and beneficial to our economy is that because the fuel is free, more of the investment goes into jobs most of which are inherently local and can’t be outsourced. So, as California grows its solar market, it automatically grows local jobs.”  


About The Solar Foundation

The Solar Foundation (TSF) is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to increase understanding of solar energy through strategic research and education that transform markets. Since 2010, TSF has published its annual National Solar Jobs Census, which established the first credible solar jobs baseline for the U.S. TSF is considered the premier research organization on the solar labor workforce, employer trends, and the economic impacts of solar and advises many organizations on the topic. TSF is also a leading provider of educational materials on the economic impacts of solar for local governments through its work with the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, TSF chairs the National Solar Schools Consortium, a group of stakeholders seeking to make solar a larger part of the national K-12 system. More at www.TheSolarFoundation.org


Since the 1970s, CALSEIA has advanced the common interests of the solar industry, helping make California's solar market the most robust in the United States. Comprised of California over three hundred contractors, manufacturers, distributors, developers, engineers, consultants and educational organizations, CALSEIA represents a diverse membership committed to growing the California solar industry. CALSEIA engages with local and state decision makers to ensure California remains a solar energy leader through good public policy and regulations that provide clarity, transparency, and certainty. More at www.CALSEIA.org

Chilicon Power Joins Industry Leaders in Growing California’s Solar Industry

Chilicon Power becomes newest CALSEIA member


SACRAMENTO - Chilicon Power has become the newest member of the nation’s largest state solar power trade association, the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA).

“We are proud to have Chilicon Power join CALSEIA to support its mission of expanding the use of clean, solar technologies throughout the state.  CALSEIA members are recognized as being true leaders in the California market as they promote high standards within the industry and advocate fair policies for solar consumers. We look forward to working closely with Chilicon Power in continuing this work,” says Bernadette Del Chiaro, Executive Director of CALSEIA.

Chilicon Power is a Southern California native, designing and manufacturing all of our products locally in Simi Valley; making CALSEIA advocacy indispensable.

Our technology takes advantage of a high reliability microinverter providing enhanced command and control communication capabilities.  Chilicon Power has linked a touch screen full color gateway for cloud-based monitoring to provide real time PV system status to customers and installers. Chilicon also provides full-home or business consumption monitoring, the only integrated system of its kind in the industry.

The agile Chilicon Power system is in full compliance to Rule 21 and HECO Rule 14H requirements.

Chilicon Power is privileged to partner with CALSEIA in supporting the evolving distributed energy resource market. Our locally designed, supported, and manufactured products are fully compliant to UL1741, IEEE std 1547, Rule 21, and HECO Rule 14H interconnect requirements making Chilicon Power the smart solution.

Chilicon Power joins CALSEIA after being carefully vetted and approved through the association’s application process, which ensures member companies adhere to industry best practices.

Founded in 1977, CALSEIA, the California Solar Energy Industries Association, represents manufacturers, installers, financers, and distributors of solar panels and related components and technologies throughout the state.


About Chilicon Power:

Since 2010 Chilicon Power has been a global provider of SMART inverter systems focused on providing peak power harvesting, simplified installation, with robust module level monitoring. The system dramatically reduces both installation and O&M costs, while providing full compliance certification to Rule 21 and HECO Rule 14H requirements. Chilicon Power is the only company turning solar installations into home appliances thanks to tablet-like always-on display showing instant telemetry data.

Press Contact:
Bret Young

California Public Utilities Commission Adopts New Rooftop Solar Program

State Preserves Consumer Choice in Solar and Rejects Utility Attempts to Kill Net Metering


San Francisco—The California Public Utilities Commission officially voted today to extend net metering for solar customers indefinitely. In its 3-2 vote, the Commission firmly rejected proposals from the utilities to replace net metering with complicated schemes that would have put solar out of reach for most consumers. This decision puts California in stark contrast to neighboring states, such as Nevada, which recently went in the opposite direction, shutting down the rooftop solar industry there.

“We all know that California is a world leader when it comes to being ‘green’,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA). “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 electricity.”

Under the proposed decision, the utility meter will continue spinning backward at full retail rates for solar customers when they are generating more electricity than they are using, but a new fee will partially offset the value of those credits. Solar customers will be required to pay increased charges for upkeep of the grid as well as public purpose programs like energy efficiency rebates and low-income bill assistance.  

“The Commission agreed that tying solar credits to retail rates is important because it is simple and proven effective,” said CALSEIA Policy Director Brad Heavner. “In the debate over net metering that is flaring up in states across the country, California has said yes to continuing net metering and that’s very significant.”

The new rules also create an application fee of up to $150 and requires residential solar customers to be on “time-of-use rates” that vary depending on the time of day. Commercial and agricultural customers are already on mandatory time-of-use rates.

“The utilities are upset because they weren’t successful at killing rooftop solar like some of their counterparts in other states have done, but the Commission determined that net metering should change only gradually,” added Del Chiaro. “This decision takes significant steps to change net metering over time, but we are confident it will maintain the opportunity to go solar for most types of customers.

Congress Passes Multi-Year Extension of Solar Tax Credit

Combined with net metering, federal solar incentive helps consumers, economy, environment


WASHINGTON — This morning, the U.S. Congress passed a multi-year extension of the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) as part of the omnibus appropriations bill. The policy received broad bipartisan support by California’s congressional delegation and was backed by consumers from farmers in the Central Valley to high tech in Silicon Valley. The Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce officially supported the tax credit’s extension this week.    

The 30% federal tax credit for homeowners and businesses was scheduled to expire at the end of 2016.  The provision in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill, passed by Congress this morning, would extend the credit through 2021 with a gradual ramp down starting in 2019.  The extension also includes commenced construction language that would add two additional years to complete large-scale projects.  President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law. 

“The federal solar tax credit is a critical policy support making it easier for consumers across the state to go solar,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA), which gives voice to the more than 2,000 solar companies doing business in California.  “We applaud the bipartisan leadership of our California Congressional delegation in supporting passage of this multi-year extension of the ITC.” 

Long-term policies like the 30% federal solar investment tax credit and the state-based policy of net energy metering have been instrumental in creating the rapidly growing California solar industry which currently employs 54,000 people statewide and brought nearly $12 billion in investments to California in 2014.  These policies have also brought about significant cost reductions within the solar industry—dropping over 60% in the past seven years—enabling the growth of local solar businesses and reducing energy costs for homeowners, businesses, schools and farmers across the state. 

“This has been a big week for solar,” said Del Chiaro. “Assuming Governor Brown’s CPUC adopts a strong net metering decision in January in the face of fierce opposition from the state’s big utilities, solar energy has a bright future.”  

The federal investment tax credit (ITC) is a 30 percent credit for solar systems installed on residential and commercial properties.  With the Senate expected to follow the House in passing the bill to extend the expiration date, on December 31, 2016, the ITC will no longer decline to 10 percent for commercial installations and will not completely expire for residential projects.  The ITC has helped the solar market grow significantly since it was passed in 2006.

Net energy metering is a program that compensates solar consumers for any excess electricity they export to the grid. The program has helped fuel the explosive growth of solar across the state.  The California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) will finalize its decision on the future of net energy metering in late January. Earlier this week, the CPUC proposed a decision that rejected utility proposals that advocates say would have gutted the state’s rooftop solar market.

The ITC deal in the omnibus appropriations bill will provide extensions for both section 48 (commercial) and 25D (residential). It keeps both credits at the current 30% level until the end of 2019 followed by a two-year phase out:

2015 – 30% (existing law)

2016 – 30% (existing law)

2017 – 30%

2018 – 30%

2019 – 30%

2020 – 26%

2021 – 22%

The 10% credit for Section 48 (commercial) projects remains in place after 2021, per existing tax law.

In addition to extending the expiration date of the ITC, Congress added a provision to the tax code that provides some additional flexibility and certainty for new solar projects to be able to claim the critical 30% federal tax credit.  This provision, so-called “commence construction” language, provides an effective extension of the ITC, especially for larger solar projects that require significant lead time to finance, permit, construct, and connect to the electrical grid.  Solar projects are now eligible to claim the federal tax credit if they commence construction before the expiration date, rather than the previously rigid requirement that projects be fully completed and in-service by the deadline. There is precedent for this provision in the existing tax code, and now solar will receive the same tax treatment as wind and other renewable energy technologies by allowing for projects under construction to receive the tax credit.

“We simply can’t pop any corks until the future of net energy metering is finalized,” concluded Del Chiaro. “However, I think this week marks a turning point for solar energy. As the ink dries on the Paris Climate Agreement, I believe the age of the sun has finally dawned.”

CALSEIA Welcomes Two New Board Members

Inverter Manufacturer Yaskawa-Solectria Solar and Central Valley- Commercial Installer CalCom Solar Added to Board of Directors

Sacramento, CA – December 17, 2015 – The California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA), the oldest and largest California solar industry organization, welcomes two new board members. Allison Duffy, Strategic Account Manager for Yaskawa-Solectria Solar and Nic Stover, CEO of CalCom Solar were officially seated onto the CALSEIA board of directors at the association’s fourth quarter board meeting in San Diego.

“We are very pleased to welcome our two newest board members, Allison Duffy of Yaskawa-Solectria Solar and Nic Stover of CalCom Solar,” said CALSEIA Executive Director Bernadette Del Chiaro. “Both Allison and Nic are industry leaders and will contribute greatly to making California’s solar industry stronger through the collaborative work of CALSEIA.”

Ms. Duffy and Mr. Stover were both elected by the CALSEIA membership in October. They join thirteen other members of the CALSEIA Board of Directors:

Elected Officers

·      Rick Reed, President, SunEarth Inc., President of the Board

·      Jeanine Cotter, President, Luminalt, Vice President of the Board

·      Ed Murray, President, Aztec Solar, Treasurer of the Board

·      Aaron Thurlow, President, Sol Future Consulting, Secretary of the Board


·      Benjamin Airth, Senior Manager, Renewables, Center for Sustainable Energy

·      Bill Stewart, President, Solarcraft

·      Cecilia Aguillon, Director of Market Development, Kyocera

·      Gary Gerber, President & CEO, Sun Light & Power

·      Hilary Pearson, Director, Government Affairs, Sungevity

·      Jeff Spies, Senior Director Policy, Quick Mount PV

·      Les Nelson, Vice President, Solar Heating & Cooling Programs, IAPMO

·      Pat Redgate, President, AMECO Solar

·      Sanjay Ranchod, Vice President, Policy & Electricity Markets and Regulatory Counsel, SolarCity

 “Solar is one of the bright spots in California’s economy, and there’s no question that the strong leadership of CALSEIA’s Board of Directors will be critical to continued growth,” Del Chiaro said.

Del Chiaro thanked the outgoing directors – Jason Hanson of Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort and Greg Gahagan of UMA Solar – for their leadership and service to the organization and solar industry in California.

Bakersfield Chamber Supports Solar

Unanimous Approval for Extension of Federal Solar Tax Credit

BAKERSFIELD — Today the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce unanimously approved support for extending the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar energy.  Their support is timely as Congressional leaders work to pass a bipartisan deal that includes a multi-year extension of the ITC.

“The unanimous support for the solar investment tax credit of the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce reflects the growing importance for solar throughout the state of California,” said Kelly Knutsen, policy advisor for the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA). “We applaud the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce’s leadership on this issue and urge California’s congressional delegation to vote for extending the solar tax credit as part of the omnibus appropriations bill being considered this week.” 

The House of Representatives filed an omnibus appropriations bill Wednesday morning that included a five-year extension of the federal solar investment tax credit.  The House of Representatives and Senate are expected to each vote on the omnibus bill later this week.

The 30% federal tax credit is scheduled to expire at the end of 2016, but if Congress votes to approve the deal, it would be extended through 2021.  The extension includes a phase-out and a provision that projects that have commenced construction by the end of 2021 would have two additional years to complete the project.  

In addition to the Bakersfield Chamber’s decision today, in October, the City of Bakersfield became first in the nation to call for congressional support of the solar tax credit, highlighting the growing influence of renewable energy in the biggest oil and gas-producing region in the state.

There are now over 11,000 households and businesses with solar in Bakersfield, making Bakersfield one of the top cities in the state for solar. In fact, according to the California Solar Statistics database, Bakersfield has twice as many solar installations as San Francisco. The city of 363,000 also has comparable amounts of solar installations to the much larger cities of San Diego and San Jose.

Long-term policies like the 30% federal solar investment tax credit and California state policy of net energy metering have been instrumental in creating the rapidly growing California solar industry, which currently employs 54,000 Californians statewide.  These policies have also brought about significant cost reductions within the solar industry—dropping over 50% in past 5 years—enabling the growth of local solar businesses and reducing energy costs for homeowners, businesses and farmers across the state.

Brown Administration’s PUC Proposes to Reject Anti-Solar Proposals from Utilities

Net Metering Compromise Includes Gradual Changes

San Francisco—The California Public Utilities Commission today issued a proposed decision in the proceeding to renew the net metering tariff for solar customers. The proposed decision rejects the utility proposals to slash the value of credits for power they receive from solar customers and to impose hefty new fees for solar customers.

“Gov. Brown’s PUC is standing up for clean power and for customers by proposing to reject the utilities’ attempts to make solar out of reach for customers,” said CALSEIA Executive Director Bernadette Del Chiaro.

The proposed decision would maintain net metering with credits valued at a customer’s full retail rate, but would make changes that solar companies have opposed. CALSEIA will work to improve these provisions in the final version of the decision:

  • It would create a new fee for solar customers to collect utility program charges (“non-bypassable charges”) on a larger portion of the bill. CALSEIA proposed starting this fee in 2019 rather than at the beginning of the new tariff.
  • It would mandate that solar customers on the new tariff use rate plans with rates that vary by the time of day beginning in 2018. Mandatory time-of-use rates would make it difficult for some customers to predict their savings, so it is important that the final decision add flexibility for customers.

Utilities have argued throughout this proceeding that maintaining net metering would result in a great expense to non-solar customers, but the Commission finds that such claims have not been proven. Combined with the restructuring of residential rates that is already being phased in, the changes in the proposed decision may result in little to no shifting of utility revenue sources. This question will be re-evaluated in 2019.

“The Commission is rejecting the utilities’ false numbers and clearing the pathway for solar to continue to grow,” said CALSEIA Policy Director Brad Heavner.

The proposed decision establishes a process to revisit the net metering tariff again in 2019, but guarantees that customers who install solar before those changes take effect will not be subject to the further changes. 

The proposed decision also proposes an alternative tariff for disadvantaged communities that will create further opportunities for low-income customers to join in the clean energy revolution. Details of the alternative tariff need to be resolved, but it may lead to a workable community solar program for census tracts that have historically been impacted by dirty power plants.

The PD proposes to continue virtual net metering and meter aggregation with full retail credit. It also approves CALSEIA’s proposal to expand market-rate VNEM to allow participation throughout a single apartment complex rather than just on an individual building.

“Although we don’t like everything in the proposed decision, it is a fair compromise that will maintain the opportunity for customers to go solar,” added Heavner. “It is consistent with Gov. Brown’s strong commitment to transforming our energy system into one that is based on clean, local power.”

Net energy metering is a tariff that provides fair compensation to solar consumers for excess electricity they export to the grid. In place since 1995, net energy metering has been a foundational policy enabling growth in customer-adopted solar energy in California and has been similarly important to the growth of rooftop solar in other states throughout the country.

Over the past few years, utilities have incorrectly labeled net energy metering as a subsidy and sought major modifications, with mixed success. Arizona utility SRP made changes to net energy metering last spring that resulted in a 95% drop in customer adoption of rooftop solar within the first month. In contrast, Colorado recently rejected a major utility effort to dismantle net metering and other states continue to increase their caps on the tariff.

California’s investor owned utilities, PG&E, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric, proposed major changes to California’s net energy metering program similar to those adopted by the Salt River Project. Details of those proposals can be found here. The proposed decision will undergo a 30-day comment period with a vote on a final decision likely in January.

Once in place, the changes to net metering, which were put in motion by AB 327 (Perea) in 2013, will only affect consumers who go solar after the 5% cap is reached by each utility. Existing customers will continue under the current net metering rules for twenty years from their installation date. It is anticipated that San Diego Gas & Electric will hit its 5% cap this coming spring, PG&E this coming summer, and Southern California Edison sometime in 2017. 

UC Berkeley Study: Utility Proposals Could “Throttle Demand for Rooftop Solar”, Make Decision to Go Solar More Difficult for Consumers

Berkeley - November 4, 2015 – A study by Professor Justin McCrary of the University of California, Berkeley, an economist with Berkeley Law and the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that proposals at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on the future of solar net metering by the state’s monopoly utilities and the CPUC’s Office of Ratepayer Advocates (ORA) would severely impede the adoption of rooftop solar in the state.

McCrary’s report, titled “Impacts of Rooftop Solar Adoption from Proposed Changes to California’s Net Metering Policy,” evaluated proposals from Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, as well as the ORA according to principles of the economics of consumer decision-making.

“One of the main characteristics of the current [net metering] program is its simplicity: it is easy to understand that no matter how the energy produced by the solar system is used, it will result in a deduction on a consumer’s total bill,” the report said. “The proposed changes to California’s [net metering] program by the [utilities] and ORA will greatly increase the complexity of the decision that consumers face when considering rooftop solar adoption… In short, consumers will be discouraged from adopting by the sheer complexity of the choice they face.”

According to McCrary, the methodology used by CPUC staff to help evaluate different proposals does not account for consumer behaviors specific to an economic decision like going solar, including:

  • Discount rates and present orientation (consumers may undervalue the long-term benefits of rooftop solar);
  • Risk aversion given uncertainty;
  • Limited attention and bounded rationality (consumers have limited attention and capacities to perform complex calculations and trade-offs).

Given the long-term nature of the rooftop solar investment and the dynamics of consumer demand, McCrary recommends that the CPUC consider how any changes to the net metering tariff will affect the riskiness and complexity of the homeowner’s decision to install solar. In fact, he warns that policy uncertainty can have an outsize impact on such complex consumer decisions, and thus the CPUC must be cautious and measured in its decision. The study says that the CPUC should “move deliberately and incrementally in order to avoid fully and durably throttling consumer adoption of rooftop solar.”

The report compared the California utility proposals to new fees and rate structures for new rooftop solar adopters in Arizona’s second largest electric utility territory, Salt River Project (SRP). The changes adopted by that utility caused rooftop solar applications to collapse in its territory.

Latino Victory Project Files Letter to Public Utilities Commission in Support of Continued Solar Net Metering

Latinos 20% of California Solar Workforce, Benefit from “Clean Energy Jobs Boom”

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Latino Victory Project (LVP) sent a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today declaring its support for solar net metering.

Latino Victory, co-founded by Eva Longoria and Henry R. Muñoz III, is an ambitious, non-partisan effort to ensure the voices of Latinos are reflected at every level of government. The Latino Victory PAC supports Latino candidates across the country and engages Latino voters and donors to support Latino leaders in order to elevate and advance American values.

The filing is a response to actions by the state’s investor-owned utilities proposing to make California the first major solar state to abandon net metering, a cornerstone policy of every successful solar industry across the country. The utility proposals would put future customers’ ability to go solar at risk. The CPUC will likely determine the fate of net metering in California by December 31, 2015.

The letter noted that 65 percent of Latino voters are either very or extremely concerned about climate change and 74 percent of Latino voters believe it is very or extremely important for California to develop renewable energy sources, including solar.

“The reason for this [strong support] is because our community stands to suffer most from the effects of climate change,” wrote Cristóbal J. Alex, the President of the Latino Victory Project, noting that 39 percent of Latinos live within 30 miles of a power plant. “We also stand to benefit most in the event of a clean energy jobs boom.”

“California Latino communities benefit from rooftop solar and net metering.” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, Executive Director of CALSEIA, noting that 20 percent of the state’s solar workforce is Latino. “The benefits of clean air and good green jobs simply won’t happen throughout Latino communities without net metering. Rooftop solar is local and that means the benefits are local.”

Net metering is a program that credits solar consumers for the surplus electricity they export to the grid. The program has helped fuel the transformational growth of solar across the state. Before the end of this year, the CPUC will decide on the future of net metering, including options proposed by the three investor owned utilities, PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E, all of which include fees and rates designed to make solar uneconomical. Solar advocates are protesting these changes and are highlighting the conflict of interest inherent in monopoly utilities trying to squash competition to protect profits.

LVP’s letter is among dozens being submitted to the CPUC on their impending net metering decision. In sending a strongly worded letter in support of net metering for solar, LVP joins with other diverse voices calling for protecting rooftop solar, including affordable housing advocates, prominent Central Valley farmers and agricultural organizations, over 75 local elected officials, environmental justice organizations, and businesses across the state.

View the Letter