California lawmakers reject controversial net metering bill

Image: Solarcity

California lawmakers have voted down a proposed change to the state’s net metering rules that would have cut rates for rooftop solar customers.

The California Assembly rejected a controversial bill, AB 1139, on Wednesday (2 June) that would have significantly cut net metering rates and remove requirements for the California Public Utilities Commission to ensure sustainable growth in the state’s rooftop solar sector.

The bill was promoted by utilities PG&E, Southern California Edison, and SDG&E, and introduced to the Assembly in February. The Assembly had already significantly revised the bill late last week (28 May), extending the deadline for the utilities to agree on a successor tariff to the current net-metering system from January 2022 to August that year, and ensures that existing customers who benefit from the current net metering scheme will be given the same rates for 20 years, instead of the 10 years proposed by the power companies.

It also removed a policy that would make net metering rates match wholesale electricity prices, lowering the amount rooftop solar owners would get paid for what they send to the grid from more than US$0.20/kWh to around US$0.03/kWh.

The Assembly requires a majority vote to pass the bill, and with 27 Ayes and 27 Nos, it failed to pass. However, Assembly member Wendy Carrillo made a motion to reconsider the vote on Wednesday.

The decision was welcomed by the The California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA), which said that the original bill was “out of step with the deep popularity of rooftop solar in the golden state”.

“AB 1139 would have sent California backward in its efforts to move to clean energy,” the trade body said in a statement. “It would have broken a promise to hundreds of thousands of solar consumers by adding new fees and reducing the credit they receive for excess energy sent back to the grid. It would have taken California from leading the nation in expanding solar in working- and middle-class neighbourhoods to a solar unfriendly state where clean energy is accessible only to the rich.”

The decision comes after the utilities’ proposal to modernise California’s net-metering programme (NEM 3.0), which would have come into effect this November and included monthly grid charges for rooftop solar owners, received fierce backlash from campaigners.

27 September 2022
The demand for rooftop solar PV is soaring, driven by falling costs of the technology against energy crises that are gripping countries globally. But while an increasing number of households turn to solar to generate their own electricity, there is now a need for more specialist equipment, technologies and services to ensure the solar transition can reach as many customers as possible. Delivering these is now a major challenge for rooftop solar installers. This webinar will analyse the characteristics of the rooftop solar market, discussing how the products, logistics, installation and servicing of solar systems has evolved in line with consumer demands.

Read Next

September 22, 2022
Tech major Amazon has expanded its renewables portfolio globally with 71 new projects with a total capacity of 2.7GW.
September 21, 2022
Under the REPowerEU scenario to install 750GWdc of solar across the European Union by 2030, the bloc will require 1 million solar workers, double the numbers from 2021.
September 19, 2022
California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a proposed community solar programme into law that will help low income communities benefit more from solar PV.
September 14, 2022
Private equity giant BlackRock Real Assets has acquired New Zealand solar and energy storage provider solarZero.
September 8, 2022
The UFLPA could limit solar deployment through 2023 due to module availability constraints, delaying the benefits of the IRA to 2024 and beyond.
August 25, 2022
California’s Solar Access Act (SAA) has passed the state’s Senate, clearing its final legislative hurdle, and will now be sent to Governor Gavin Newsom to be signed into law.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
September 27, 2022
15:30 AEST (UTC +10)
Solar Media Events
October 4, 2022
New York, USA
On-Demand Webinars, Solar Media Events
October 11, 2022
Virtual event
Upcoming Webinars
October 18, 2022
10am (EDT) / 4pm (CEST)