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CPUC Decision Creates Certainty for Existing Net Metering Customers

A decision from the California PUC today brought some welcome certainty to solar customers in the state. As you’ll recall, legislation passed last year, AB 327, removed a looming net metering suspension date and opened the door for the California Public Utilities Commission to uncap the successful crediting program altogether. As a first step in the implementation of AB 327, the CPUC was required by the end of this month to decide how long existing solar customers can keep receiving their current net metering benefits before they transition to the new program. We argued that changing the rules on these pioneering customers who have made a personal investment in solar that benefits all of us would not be fair.

Today, the CPUC issued a strong final decision that allows customers who net meter under the current program to keep the current rules for 20 years from the year they go solar. This rule applies to the state’s 200,000 existing IOU solar customers plus any other IOU customers who go solar before July 2017 or before their utility hits the current 5% program cap. With this decision, the Commission continues its proud tradition of standing strong for rooftop solar rights. California’s solar customers and businesses can now move forward with the certainty that their net metering benefits will stay consistent for twenty years after system installation. We applaud CPUC President Peevey, the Commission and Governor Brown for protecting these early solar adopters.

In the lead-up to today’s decision, utilities had continued their efforts to make rooftop solar a bad deal, lobbying the Commission to change the rules on these customers in as little as six years. Vote Solar was part of a coalition of organizations that asked Californians to speak up for rooftop solar in advance of the decision, and we were awed and inspired by an outpouring of public support that resulted in over 50,000 public signatures. Californians overwhelmingly want to build a healthier, more prosperous, more resilient solar-powered state, and the Commission heard that message loud and clear.

Today’s decision will protect customers and allow Californians to keep going solar in the near-term, but the battle is far from over. By the end of 2015, the Commission must decide what the rules will be for customers who net meter after July 2017 (and for existing customers after the twenty year transition period has expired). If the Commission continues to stand up to pressure from the utilities and designs a future net metering program that keeps it a good deal to go solar, we’ll have the long-term policy in place to truly make good on our solar potential.  Some schools, farmers and other customers will need more than 20 years to recoup their initial investment in solar, which only underscores the importance of the PUC’s 2015 decision setting the rules for the future expanded net metering program.

During today’s vote, we appreciated Commissioner Florio’s comment that the discussion on the future of net metering should focus only on exports to the grid, given that customers have the right to reduce their onsite purchases of utility power in any way they choose. What happens behind the customer’s meter is nobody’s business but the customer’s! However, we were concerned to hear a Minnesota-style Value of Solar Tariff offered as a possible alternative to our existing net metering system. Californians deserve fair, predictable credit for the valuable power they export to the grid, and VOST is a far-from-perfect way to accomplish that objective. You can read about the drawbacks of the VOST approach in a post from earlier this week.

Currently, the Golden State has more than 2 GW of clean, local rooftop solar that is reducing the need for expensive and polluting utility infrastructure. Independent analysis from Crossborder Energy estimates that these ratepayer benefits will net out at $92 million annually when the current 5% program cap is reached. Two out of every three new rooftop solar installations are now happening in low- and middle-income communities, delivering savings and economic opportunity where it’s needed most. And all that private solar investment has put more than 47,000 Californians to work statewide, a number that is growing fast.

Californians want more rooftop solar, and Californians benefit from more rooftop solar. We look forward to working with the Commission through the next phase of the AB 327 process to ensure that Californians continue to receive full, fair credit for their valuable solar investment.

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3 comments on “CPUC Decision Creates Certainty for Existing Net Metering Customers

Daniel Ferra

We need sustainable energy policies, Ban Fracking and implement a California Residential and Commercial Feed in Tariff. The Hardworking, Tax Paying, Citizen should have the right to sell their Renewable Energy to the Grid. Net-Metering vs The Feed in Tariff, Net-Metering the Utilities and the Leasing companies win here keeping all your profits.

Residential and Commercial Feed in Tariff, paid for Renewable Energy generation at your House or Business, you keep the Fair Profit for your system.

Roof top Solar is the new mantra for Solar Leasing Companies with Net-Metering which allows them to replace One Utility with Another, we need to change this policy with a Residential Feed in Tariff that will level the playing field and allow all of us to participate in the State mandated 33% Renewable Energy by 2020.

Alliance for Solar Choice is a group of Solar Leasing Companies that with Net-Metering enable One Utility to Replace Another SLC, Why should a Hard Working, Tax Paying, Voting, Home Owning Citizen not be able to participate in the State mandated 33% Renewable Energy by 2020 ? We need a Ca. Residential Feed in Tariff and a National One.

The Utilities, The Big Boys (Solar Farms in the Desert) and Third party Leasing Companies all fight over the Renewable Portfolio Standards, allocating a percentage of the electrical generation to Renewable Energy for the State, No one is Fighting for the Hard Working, Tax Paying, Voting, Home Owner. We can change that.

Globally we are emitting 40-44 Billion tons of Green House Gases annually, in the United States we emit over 7,075.6 million tons a year, here in California we emit 446 million tons of Carbon Dioxide a year, 1,222,000 Toxic Tons a Day.

“Tell the California Public Utility Commission: No new dirty gas plants!
Every year, more than 70,000 California kids are rushed to the hospital because they can’t breathe, due to air pollution in Calfiornia.

Unfortunately the Governor and the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) are considering huge new gas-fired power plants to replace the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Dirty gas plants will make our Air, Water and Soil, worse and just aren’t needed.

We can’t sit by and let our Air, Water, and Soil, get dirtier and our kids even sicker, when we’ve got cheaper, cleaner, safer options like Renewable Energy.” Sierra Club.

California, there is enough Residential Solar to power 2.25 San Onofres, couple that with a Residential and Commercial Feed in Tariff and we can solve some of these environmental and electrical generating problems.

The Southwest is in the midst of a record drought, some 14 years in the making, which means the water supply for many Western states – California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada – is drying up. Last month the Bureau of Reclamation announced they’re cutting the flow of water into Lake Mead, which has already lost 100 feet of water since the drought began.

What happens if the Southwest drought does not end soon ?

Will we keep using 3 to 6 million gallons of Clean Water per Fracked well, to extract natural gas ?

This petition will ask the California Regulators and Law makers to allocate Renewable Portfolio Standards to Ca. Home Owners for a Residential Feed in Tariff, the RPS is the allocation method that is used to set aside a certain percentage of electrical generation for Renewable Energy in the the State.

The State of California has mandated that 33% of its Energy come from Renewable Energy by 2020.

The state currently produces about 71% of the electricity it consumes, while it imports 8% from the Pacific Northwest and 21% from the Southwest.

This is how we generate our electricity in 2011, natural gas was burned to make 45.3% of electrical power generated in-state. Nuclear power from Diablo Canyon in San Luis Obispo County accounted for 9.15%, large hydropower 18.3%, Renewable 16.6% and coal 1.6%.

There is 9% missing from San Onofre and with the current South Western drought, how long before the 18.3% hydro will be effected ?

Another generator of power that jumps out is natural gas, 45.3%, that is a lot of Fracked Wells poisoning our ground water, 3 to 6 million gallons of water are used per well.

If Fracking is safe why did Vice Pres Cheney lobby and win Executive, Congressional, and Judicial exemptions from:

Clean Water Act.

Safe Drinking Water.

Act Clean Air Act.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act.

National Environmental Policy Act.

“Americans should not have to accept unsafe drinking water just because natural gas is cheaper than Coal. the Industry has used its political power to escape accountability, leaving the American people unprotected, and no Industry can claim to be part of the solution if it supports exemptions from the basic Laws designed to ensure that we have Clean Water and Clean Air” Natural Resources Defense Council.

We have to change how we generate our electricity, with are current drought conditions and using our pure clean water for Fracking, there has to be a better way to generate electricity, and there is, a proven stimulating policy.

The Feed in Tariff is a policy mechanism designed to accelerate investment in Renewable Energy, the California FiT allows eligible customers generators to enter into 10- 15- 20- year contracts with their utility company to sell the electricity produced by renewable energy, and guarantees that anyone who generates electricity from R E source, whether Homeowner, small business, or large utility, is able to sell that electricity. It is mandated by the State to produce 33% R E by 2020.
FIT policies can be implemented to support all renewable technologies including:


Photovoltaics (PV)

Solar thermal




Fuel cells

Tidal and wave power.

There is currently 3 utilities using a Commercial Feed in Tariff in California Counties, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, and Sacramento, are paying their businesses 17 cents per kilowatt hour for the Renewable Energy they generate. We can get our Law makers and Regulators to implement a Residential Feed in Tariff, to help us weather Global Warming, insulate our communities from grid failures, generate a fair revenue stream for the Homeowners and protect our Water.

The 17 cents per kilowatt hour allows the Commercial Business owner and the Utility to make a profit.

Commercial Ca. rates are 17 – 24 cents per kilowatt hour.

Implementing a Residential Feed in Tariff at 13 cents per kilowatt hour for the first 2,300 MW, and then allow no more than 3-5 cents reduction in kilowatt per hour, for the first tier Residential rate in you area and for the remaining capacity of Residential Solar, there is a built in Fee for the Utility for using the Grid. A game changer for the Hard Working, Voting, Tax Paying, Home Owner and a Fair Profit for The Utility, a win for our Children, Utilities, and Our Planet.

We also need to change a current law, California law does not allow Homeowners to oversize their Renewable Energy systems.

Campaign to allow Californian residents to sell electricity obtained by renewable energy for a fair pro-business market price. Will you read, sign, and share this petition?

Do not exchange One Utility for Another (Solar Leasing Companies) “Solar is absolutely great as long as you stay away from leases and PPAs. Prices for solar have dropped so dramatically in the past year, that leasing a solar system makes absolutely no sense in today’s market.

The typical household system is rated at about 4.75 kW. After subtracting the 30% federal tax credit, the cost would be $9,642 to own this system. The typical cost to lease that same 4.75 kW system would be $35,205 once you totaled up the 20 years worth of lease payments and the 30% federal tax credit that you’ll have to forfeit when you lease a system. $9,642 to own or $35,205 to lease. Which would you rather choose?

If you need $0 down financing then there are much better options than a lease or PPA. FHA is offering through participating lenders, a $0 down solar loan with tax deductible interest and only a 650 credit score to qualify. Property Assessed Clean Energy loans are available throughout the state that require no FICO score checks, with tax deductible interest that allow you to make your payments through your property tax bill with no payment due until November 2014. Both of these programs allow you to keep the 30% federal tax credit as well as any applicable cash rebate. With a lease or PPA you’ll have to forfeit the 30% tax credit and any cash rebate, and lease or PPA payments are not tax deductible.

Solar leases and PPA served their purpose two years ago when no other viable form of financing was available, but today solar leases and PPAs are two of the most expensive ways to keep a solar system on your roof.” Ray Boggs.


We need Sustainable Energy Policies, Not Toxic Coal, No Poison Fracked Natural Gas

When you automatically remove Home Owners and Small Business from participating in the Stated mandated 33% Renewable Energy by 2020, the pledge that we say in school with Liberty and Justice for All is lost in Net-Metering Energy Policy

A California Residential Feed in Tariff would allow homeowners to sell their Renewable Energy to the utility, protecting our communities from Poison Water, Grid Failures, Natural Disasters, Toxic Natural Gas and Oil Fracking. It would also create a new revenue stream for the Hard Working Taxpaying, Voting, Homeowner.

Sign and Share this petition for a California Residential Feed in Tariff.

We need a National Feed in Tariff, this petition starts in California.

California currently has a Feed in Tariff that does not allow home owners to participate in the State mandated goal of 33% renewable energy by 2020.

California also does not allow the homeowner to oversize their R.E systems, as of now, your local utility has allowed only 80% homeowner generation from your R.E system.

California has 2 different Energy policies Net-metering and a Feed in Tariff.

Net metering the energy policy for homeowners, allow you to bank excess electricity from R.E systems for future credits. The credits you accumulate are at the retail rate, and are reviewed at the end of the year. It will be written off with a thank you from the utility and no payment to the homeowner for producing more than what you use.

Net metering has allowed third party leasing companies to replace one utility with another.

“Examples of Net-metering slow down Renewable Energies:

1. Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPSs) which create de facto caps on the deployment of renewable energies (the Germans do not have any RPSs, their Feed in Tariff has no caps.

2. Net-metering caps, most states only allow a small percentage of one to two percent of peak load to be net metered.

3. Third party leasing companies like Solar City, Sun Run, Verango and others fight tooth and nail to protect scarce capacity carve outs (from the States RPSs) so as to bolster their chosen business model.” Bob Tregilus

No one is fighting for the Hard Working, Taxpaying, Voting, Homeowner, we can change that with a Ca. Residential Feed in Tariff Energy policy that allows everyone to participate. Homeowner’s, Small and Large Businesses, Small and Large farmers, and Industries, have the right to sell Renewable Energy electricity to the utility.

Vote Solar Initiative is a Sierra Club and Solar Leasing Companies platform to ensure that One Utility will take the place of Another through the continued use of Net Metering.

We need a Policy that will enable Hard Working, Voting, Tax Paying Citizens, get a chance to participate in the States goal of 33% Renewable Energy by 2020 through a California Residential Feed in Tariff.

California, there is enough Residential Solar to power 2.25 San Onofres, couple that with a Commercial Feed in Tariff and we can solve some of these environmental and electrical generating problems.

This petition will ask the California Regulators and Law makers to allocate Renewable Portfolio Standards to Ca. Home Owners for a Residential Feed in Tariff, the RPS is the allocation method that is used to set aside a certain percentage of electrical generation for Renewable Energy in the the State.

[…] California PUC’s first workshop on the design of the expanded net metering program. Following a strong recent decision keeping the rules stable for existing net metering customers for at least 20 years, the CPUC must […]

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