Unrest in the Growing Solar Energy Paradise?

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For a species so smart, human beings’ retain a pretty dismal record at not making mistakes. This particular dynamic has already been reinforced quite a few times throughout our history, with each testimony practically forcing us to look for a defensive cover. We will, however, solve our conundrum in the most fitting way possible, and we’ll do so by bringing dedicated regulatory bodies into the fold. Having a well-defined authority across each and every area was a game-changer, as it instantly concealed our many shortcomings. Now, the kind of utopia you would expect from such a development did arrive, but at the same time, it failed to stick around for very long. Talk about what caused its sudden death, the answer has to include technology before anything else. You see, the moment technology got its layered nature to take over the scene, it allowed people an unprecedented chance to full their ulterior motives at the expense of others’ well-being. In case this didn’t sound bad enough, the whole runner soon began to materialize on such a massive scale that it expectantly overwhelmed our governing forces and sent them back to square one. After a long spell in the wilderness, though, it seems like the regulatory contingent is finally ready to make a comeback. The same has only turned more and more evident over the recent past, and truth be told, a new CPUC proposal might just do a lot to keep that trend alive and kicking.

The California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) has officially introduced a new energy proposal, which removes the controversial monthly grid tax on solar panels. It all kicked off in December 2021 when CPUC, driven by its intention to slash incentives for customers of investor-owned utilities, proposed a monthly fee of $8 per kilowatt to connect new solar customers to the grid. Unsurprisingly enough, the stated proposal was quick to spark a backlash from various industry leaders, with some even claiming that the decision will likely “end California’s solar boom.” Fair enough, considering the state’s enormous progression in regards solar power consumption, CPUC has now revoked the fee in question. However, the commission is still looking to make some significant changes in the name of creating parity. For instance, it is planning to reduce payouts for the energy going back to the grid. To give you concrete figures, the measure, if approved, will slash the stated payouts from 0.30 per kilowatt to $0.08. As a result, it will considerably dampen the possibility of recouping installation costs in less than 10 years.

Notably enough, the new proposal also includes a $900 million package to support battery and solar systems, mostly for low-income customers. Nevertheless, with the considerable reduction in energy payouts, Bernadette Del Chiaro, CALSSA’s executive director, feels that the plans still favors the rich corporations more than it does the middle-class working man.

“If passed as is, the CPUC’s proposal would protect utility monopolies and boost their profits, while making solar less affordable and delaying the goal of 100 percent clean energy,” said Del Chiaro. “We urge Governor Newsom and the CPUC to make further adjustments to help more middle- and working-class consumers as well as schools and farms access affordable, reliable, clean energy.”

Although the new NEM rates only apply to new installations, the proposal’s fate currently hangs in balance, and it is expected to stay the same until 15th December 2022, when the voting on these adjustments are slated to go down.

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