California’s Public Utility Commission (PUC) is proposing not only cutting the state’s rooftop solar energy incentive after several years of success (and debate), but it also wants to punish homeowners who use solar power to generate their electricity. Reuters notes that under these proposed reforms, California homeowners with new solar installations would see a monthly utility charge of $8 per kilowatt to cover the state’s cost of maintaining the grid. Solar homeowners will also get paid less for sending excess electricity into the grid.
Penalizing sustainable energy is insane
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 13, 2021
Elon Musk commented that this was insane, and rightfully so. This is a literal financial punishment for those willing to install and use solar power instead of electricity generated from fossil fuels or other sources such as nuclear, which is another thing California wants to do away with. The state wants to close its Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, and the LA Times noted that California should focus on renewable energy to replace it, especially considering nuclear energy is another low-carbon source of electricity. Unfortunately, the state looks to be headed in the wrong direction.
The California PUC criticized solar net metering in the state as being a multi-billion-dollar subsidy for rich homeowners and claimed that utility ratepayers are funding this.
But when you get to the core of it, at a time when we are struggling to stop global heating (we are losing the race so far), penalizing sustainable energy is indeed insane. We should be doing everything we can to stimulate clean energy, not stifle it.
some people have 20 kw systems
$160 a month, nearly $2000 a year. pic.twitter.com/MytBm3uDi9
— Whole Mars Catalog (@WholeMarsBlog) December 13, 2021
The CPUC argues that these changes would get more solar homeowners to invest in energy storage systems, so that they can store any excess electricity in batteries and use it later. That would help even out the demand vs. supply problem in this energy sector in the middle of the day. On the other hand, it would still probably reduce the uptake of solar power across the Golden State.