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TechNet Chimes in to Support Solar Net Metering in California

 
Bipartisan Policy Network Supports PUC’s Proposed Decision on “Net Metering”

SACRAMENTO — California’s business community continues to weigh in to support the proposed decision by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that will allow the state’s solar industry to continue its record growth.

TechNet, the bipartisan policy network of the nation’s leading technology companies, has submitted a letter to the PUC asking them to enact the proposed decision (PD) to change the calculation of “net metering.”

The proposed decision will allow another 2.1 gigawatts of solar power to be employed from rooftop solar systems that allow owners to get credit on their bills for supplying power to the grid. The state’s utilities are fighting the effort.

“It is vital to the future of the state’s clean tech industry and our economic success to adopt a methodology that is consistent with the plain reading and goals of the net metering statute while not suppressing net metering capacity,” TechNet states in its letter. “The PD will provide much-needed market certainty, allow more Californians to obtain value for the energy they generate and provide back to the grid, and enable further innovation in the clean energy technology sector.”

Much like cell-phone rollover minutes, net metering gives solar customers fair credit on their utility bills for the excess electricity they send back to the grid. A recent poll conducted for Vote Solar shows that more than 86 percent of California voters support making net metering more widely available to residential customers, schools, and businesses. So far, net metering supporters have flooded the PUC with an astonishing 60,000 emails urging them to stand up to utility-driven efforts to block the PUC from moving forward.

TechNet joins a broad range of stakeholders supporting the proposed decision including the Division of Ratepayer Advocates, the California Solar Energy Industries Association, the Sierra Club, the California Farm Bureau Federation, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, former Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Fred Keeley (who authored the original California net metering legislation), as well as school districts, local governments and other ratepayers.

The TechNet letter in its entirety appears below:

 

May 18, 2012

 

Commissioner Michael Peevey

California Public Utilities Commission

505 Van Ness Avenue

San Francisco, CA  94102

 

RE:      Proposed Decision in R10-05-004 – Net Metering

Dear President Peevey:

TechNet, the bipartisan policy network that promotes the Innovation Economy, writes to express its strong support for the Commission’s April 11, 2012 Proposed Decision of President Peevey (PD) issued in Rulemaking 10-05-004. It is important for the Commission to clarify the proper calculation of the statutory cap on net energy metering.  TechNet urges you to adopt the PD.

TechNet brings together the CEOs and senior executives of the nation’s leading technology companies in support of policies to strengthen the nation’s innovation-driven global competitiveness.  TechNet’s members are leaders in fields such as the smart grid, networking, information technology, clean energy, software, biotechnology, e-commerce and venture capital.  Many are based in California.   Many TechNet members are involved in the design, development and deployment of clean energy generation and the use of information technology to improve the management and efficiency of energy distribution and use.   TechNet members also have a broader interest as electricity consumers and ratepayers in ensuring that electricity is efficiently used.

Net energy metering is a foundational policy that has helped California’s clean energy industry grow into a world leader and leverage billions of dollars in private investment in the installation of renewable energy systems across California.   In spurring innovation such as solar service options that enable customers to eliminate the high upfront cost of solar and start saving money immediately, this policy has helped create and sustain more than 25,000 solar jobs in California.

It is vital to the future of the state’s clean tech industry and our economic success to adopt a methodology that is consistent with the plain reading and goals of the net metering statute while not suppressing net metering capacity. The PD will provide much-needed market certainty, allow more Californians to obtain value for the energy they generate and provide back to the grid, and enable further innovation in the clean energy technology sector.

The PD also will provide sufficient time for the Commission to perform an updated study on the costs and benefits of net metering to properly inform future policy-making on this issue.  Accordingly, any concerns about rate design can be addressed separately and should not create an impediment to adopting the definition of aggregate peak demand in the PD.

We see the PD as an important development for the clean tech industry in California, and we urge the Commission to move forward with adoption of the PD without modification. Thank you for your consideration.

 

Yours very truly,

     

Jim Hawley                                                               Eve Bukowski

Senior Vice President, State Policy                      Executive Director, California

 

cc:       President Michael Peevey

Commissioner Timothy Simon

Commissioner Catherine Sandoval

Commissioner Michael Florio

Commissioner Mark Ferron

Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.

 
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