California NEM fight: 41 chapters of Indivisible California ask governor to protect solar net metering

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Forty-one chapters of Indivisible California, a national progressive grassroots movement, issued a statement of support to protect rooftop solar in California from a utility lobbying campaign. The open letter, sent to Governor Newsom and the CPUC, calls on state leaders to keep solar affordable in California as the Newsom administration considers changes to net metering.

“We applaud Governor Newsom’s leadership on climate change and want him to succeed,” said Jennifer Tanner, founder of the Indivisible California Green Team. “However, these efforts will not succeed if net metering is gutted by the CPUC and solar becomes unaffordable for working class people.”

Proposals submitted by the big utilities to gut net metering would drastically reduce the credit solar consumers receive for the excess energy they produce and add a $54-$91 monthly solar penalty fee to their energy bills. By holding back rooftop solar, which is more efficient, the utility profit grab would cost California tens of billions over time and each ratepayer $295 a year, according to the most in-depth energy modeling performed on this matter.

Indivisible groups are asking California leaders to keep growing and improving rooftop solar to fight climate change and build a more resilient grid. Since many of the state’s low-income solar programs rely directly on net metering to deliver bill savings to vulnerable populations, the letter emphasizes the need to prioritize equity and continue bringing solar to more people. Finally, the letter notes that when coupled with storage, rooftop solar is a consumer’s best defense against spiking energy costs and unpredictable power outages, particularly as wildfire season looms large.

“Blackouts, rising utility bills, and climate become more and more of a threat every day,” said Rebecca Elliot from Indivisible San Jose. “Now is the time to be helping millions of working and middle class people make, store and share clean energy from the sun at home, at work and at school. The last thing we should be doing is making it harder and more expensive for people to go solar. Renewable energy, such as rooftop solar, is our future.”

The Indivisible California Green Team is part of a coalition of more than 400 local and statewide organizations and leaders calling for the expansion of rooftop solar. The coalition is calling on the CPUC to strengthen net metering in two ways: 1) by making it easier and more affordable for everyone and 2) by increasing battery accessibility for those who go solar, thereby increasing the community benefits of rooftop solar.

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