On Tuesday, October 11th, 2022, the California Solar + Storage Association (CALSSA) hosted the Everyone Under the Sun Rally & Festival in front of the California State Capitol Building. Attendees gathered for a day of action and celebration as they listened to speakers, enjoyed live entertainment, and shared a day to show legislators that California still wants more solar power and storage.
With the NEM 3.0 proposal quietly looming, though continuing to be delayed, it is more important than ever to voice opposition to the potential of dramatic overreaching changes to Net Metering.
As members of the energy industry, we understand the market forces and economics of keeping the grid functioning 24/7 are ever in flux, and some changes will always be necessary. However, it is crucial to moderate those changes and consider the needs of all interest groups. Here are some of the changes in the previous NEM 3.0 proposal:
- A monthly fee simply for having solar connected to the grid, aka Solar Tax
- Cutting the export credit from the retail cost of power to 4.7-5.8 cents/kWh
- Retroactively changing the life cycle of 20-year NEM agreements to 15-year agreements
What could NEM 3.0 do to the California Solar Industry?
The extreme and sudden changes to the program, such as those proposed initially, would have taken the payback period of the average solar installation from 7 years to 20. This would inevitably lead to destructive waves throughout the renewable energy industry, the likes of which we saw after the initial proposal. Due to the extreme and even backward-reaching proposed changes to policy, there was an enormous movement of homeowners rushing to go solar to lock in rates under the NEM 2.0 program. This push nearly overwhelmed the entire industry of solar integrators in the following weeks.
Fortunately, the pushback to this proposal was successful, and it was withdrawn to be reworked. Had NEM 3.0 gone into effect, the California Solar Industry would have seen a steep drop-off leading to what would have certainly put many installers out of work and even out of business.
The California Solar Industry is united and standing up.
It seems that the Utilities and the CPUC may be biding their time in hopes that we in the industry will believe that “no news is good news” and the opposition will lose steam. The Everyone Under the Sun Rally & Festival was intended to show this will not be the case and has been the biggest pro-solar event yet! The public and those in the industry will continue to push back against unreasonable changes to the California Net Energy Metering program.
Written by: Glenn Hall, AEE Solar Sr. Applications Engineer and Alex Pugh, AEE Solar Applications Engineer