California’s solar industry and solar advocates breathe a sigh of relief after the California Assembly failed to pass a bill that would have reshaped the state’s solar market.
AB 1139 was written by Lorena Gonzalez, a member of the San Diego Congregation.
The bill met strong opposition from environmentalists and representatives of the solar industry because it would have changed the state’s net metering system.
Net metering sets the rules for how residents are paid for additional electricity they generate from solar panels on the roof. The original system paid residents the same price for electricity from the utility companies.
Net metering was revised in 2016, which reduced utility company prices for electricity on the roof. It added electricity prices for usage time, connection fees, and imposed non-avoidable fees that customers without solar energy had to pay.
Customers who already had solar systems on their roofs were not affected by these changes.
AB 1139 would have further reduced utility company fees for rooftop solar panels and introduced monthly grid access fees for customers with solar panels. These fees can range from $ 50 to $ 80 per month.
Author Lorena Gonzalez described the topic as one of justice between solar and non-solar residents.
“It would be nice if Rooftop Solar worked for everyone, but we know it never will,” said Gonzalez. “We will burden the people who are left out more and more if we do not fix this cost shift.”
AB 1139 took 41 votes to pass the assembly but received only 27.
Gonzalez moved the law to inactive status on Thursday, effectively repealing the measure this year.
“Although it was a victory, we remain vigilant and committed to protecting solar energy on rooftops,” said Tara Hammond of Hammond Climate Solutions. Hammond helped organize the opposition to the Convention’s law, and she warns that the struggle will continue.
“I think our local activists, through events, phone calls, and meetings, have really helped shape the narrative and show the real negative impact this law would have had on our community,” said Hammond.
The California Public Utilities Commission is currently reviewing 17 proposals to change the payment for rooftop electricity. Regulators could decide on changes to the state’s net metering system by the end of the year.
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Reported by Erik Anderson
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