In the continuing battle between proponents of solar power and electric utilities in California, the California Public Utilities Commission decided in favor of protecting a favorable net metering policy.
This is definitely considered a big win for the solar industry in California. If the Utilities had their way, excess solar electricity delivered to the grid would have only been compensated at a fraction of its actual worth. Solar customers can expect to be compensated the full retail value of their excess solar production.
It’s not all good news, however. Residents of California that are considering solar may face an increase in interconnection fees and time-of-use charges. On the whole, these minor fees will not prevent solar from being the great value that it is.
Public comments will be allowed in the first week of January, 2016. A final vote on the decision will take place towards the end of the month.
Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association, has said this in response to the decision – “Governor 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 of customers.”
This decision really is one of freedom of choice. This story is blatantly one of a monopolistic enterprise attempting to prevent any potential competitors. It can be said that one of the greatest liberties that should be preserved in this country is one of choice.
Furthermore, if a solar customer’s excess solar electricity is used by the grid, it is only right that the producer of the power gets fair compensation for that electricity. Anything short of that can simply be seen as theft.
The proposal also shows that public utilities’ argument that solar power customers create an additional expense to non-solar customers has not been proven in the least. “The commission is rejecting the utilities’ false numbers and clearing the pathway for solar to continue to grow” – Brad Heavner – policy director for CALSEIA.
Utilities are also mandated to be producing an increasing amount of renewable energy under the Clean Power Plan. Any attempts to hinder the spread of solar power is simply a step backwards in regards to that legislation and our collective need of improving our environment.
There should be greater focus by these power companies to transition to wind and solar power. Along with developing energy storage technologies, these represent the future of energy production.
Out with the old. In with the new. Solar is here to stay.