Should the AIACC advocate to the California Public Utilities Commission that it adopt a net metering rate restructure that protects the economic sustainability of the utility companies and does not harm consumer demand for PV panels as recommended by the AIACC Committee on the Environment and the AAC?
The California Public Utilities Commission is required by State law to develop rules governing the benefits of energy producing solar panels in net metering; the investor owned utilities have offered their proposed rules, which are opposed by solar industry. Likewise, the solar industry has offered their proposed rules, which are opposed by the investor owned utilities.
The utilities argue that the existing price structure for net metering clients does not require those users to pay their fair share of the costs to maintain the infrastructure, from which the users take energy. The utilities are asking for changes that will increase the costs on net metering customers.
The solar industry argues that the proposals from the utilities will seriously damage the incentive for users to make the investment to install solar and would cause a significant decrease in demand for solar installation. Here is a good explanation of the issue, from the newspaper The Desert Sun.
The COTE and AAC discussed this issue and makes the following recommendation:
- The AIACC should urge the CPUC to take a middle ground approach.
- It should recognize that net metering customers do take energy from the grid and should help pay to maintain the infrastructure.
- The new rules, however, should not discourage customers from having solar panels installed
- A solar fee (a fee to be included in net metering) should not be adopted.
- The net metering rate (the credit users receive when electricity to put into the grid, currently at retail rate) should be adjusted to an appropriate level between wholesale and retail rates.