Published on October 11th, 2018 | by Kyle Field0
The Solar Rights Alliance Connects Solar Owners In Support Of Solar Rights
October 11th, 2018 by Kyle Field
In the back room of a steakhouse just outside of the Solar Power International show in Anaheim, California, an influential group of solar industry leaders met to talk about the future of the solar industry. The idea for a single group that they could all feed into and support that would rally customers, advocates, and activists to preserve the handful of regulations that are so critical to ensuring access to rooftop solar for utility customers across California had brought them all together.
The Solar Rights Alliance
Together, they came together to support an emerging non-profit dedicated to establishing and sustaining regulation that supports distributed solar generation across California – the Solar Rights Alliance (SRA). CleanTechnica spoke with the Executive Director of the SRA, Dave Rosenfeld about how the group came about and what they are working to achieve. “We believe there is a very long arc of work that must be done to truly bring the benefits of solar to California in the way that it deserves,” Dave said.
The Solar Right Alliance was established to bring together solar owners, advocates, and activists in the state of California to educate owners, potential owners, and the general public about solar rights. They also work together to fight for solar rights within the state, including an overarching effort to establish what Dave calls the Solar Bill of Rights. Because so many of the regulations and permitting processes that impact solar are established at the local level, the Solar Bill of Rights would guarantee:
- Our right to make solar energy without the utility in the way
- Our right to connect solar to the grid quickly and cheaply
- Our right to get a fair credit for the extra energy we give back to the grid
If activism isn’t your thing, the Solar Rights Alliance is also a great way to stay in the loop on what’s happening in California with regards to solar regulations and hey, it is free to join. Taking action or donating are both optional and not required to be a member of the group, but they’re also on the table for those looking to get more involved in supporting solar.
The push for ensuring current solar feed-in regulations remain in place is not some fiction from the far left. Rather, it is a very real need as, even in progressive states like California, utilities continue to lobby against solar with subversive bills designed to give them control over rooftop generation and residential energy storage. The Solar Rights Alliance advocated for SB 700, which will provide rebates to those installing energy storage, making distributed generation and storage more cost effective for homeowners across the state.
Net metering is up for debate again in California and, “we know that utilities are going to fight very very hard to weaken or just kill net metering as we know it,” Dave related. Net metering is the fundamental regulation that allows customers with rooftop storage to feed daytime solar generation into the grid at a fair rate and to consume power when they need it out of that stored credit of electricity with the utility. The Solar Rights Alliance is working to both educate its members and to actively advocate for solar rights in the state.
Partnering With Solar Companies
To streamline the communication flow to those new to solar, the Solar Rights Alliance has partnered with a handful of solar installers to either proactively enroll customers or to give customers the option to join the SRA when the sign up for a solar installation. “It’s a way for the company to show their commitment to protecting their customers commitment and it’s a way for the customer to always be aware of what’s going on with their investment and to ensure that their voice will always be heard,” Dave shared.
Engie, for example, is offering a free Solar Rights Alliance membership to new customers as a free benefit of their new system when the time comes for their annual maintenance check up. Run on Sun in Pasadena, California, has added a simple little checkbox on their contract that lets new customers opt-in to the alliance.
Dave shared that the Solar Rights Alliance is looking for solar installers to, “work with us to introduce and encourage your customers to become members of the Solar Rights Alliance.” It’s a true win-win as the Solar Rights Alliance not only protects the rights of homeowners with solar on the roof, it also protects that market for the solar installers themselves. For installers looking to support the SRA, head over to their website and give them a holler. Better yet, I’m sure they would be thrilled to get some corporate sponsorships, so go ahead and drop them in your budget for next year while you’re at it.
If you’re in California and want to support, head over to its site to join today. It’s free. The group is shooting to have 100,000 members in the next 2 years, which feels very achievable, considering that we are approaching 1,000,000 solar owners in the state already.
If you’re motivated, go for a double header like I did and add your name to the list of consumers calling for a solar bill of rights in California. “What’s important is that we all get together and speak with one voice,” Dave shared. “There are so many of us that we can be unstoppable,” and that’s pretty much what we need at this point if we’re going to have any shot at heading off the worst effects of anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change.