Full Title: Rooftop Solar at Risk: Cuts to Net Metering could Threaten California’s Clean Energy Progress
Author(s): Tony Dutzik, Bryn Huxley-Reicher, Laura Deehan, Bronte Payne
Publisher(s): Environment California Research & Policy Center, Frontier Group
Publication Date: July 27, 2021
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Rooftop solar power is an essential tool for California to meet its ambitious climate and clean energy goals. California has become the nation’s solar energy leader by adopting policies that have nurtured and grown the state’s market for distributed solar panels on homes and businesses consistently, year after year.
Today, however, utilities and their allies are pushing for major rollbacks to the state’s key policy for compensating solar panel owners for the surplus energy they share back to the electric grid – called “net metering.” Such a rollback would likely slow down rooftop solar adoption dramatically, threatening California’s continued clean energy progress.
Evidence from California and around the United States shows that the pace of solar adoption is dependent on the level of compensation provided to solar panel owners. The case studies in this report, taken from states from Hawaii to Missouri and from across California, show that policy changes like sharply reducing net metering payments and imposing high, solar-only fixed charges that reduce the economic viability of solar power can slow its growth – and, in the most extreme cases, can cause solar installations to plummet.