SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – California’s power grid is set to be fossil-free by 2045, and solar is part of the solution. Homeowners with solar panels are being paid by PG&E for energy bringing them back on-line, but utilities are pushing to cut loans.
PG & E’s proposal would cut credits for future solar users by more than half.
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Add to this a utility-backed bill passed this week by the Legislative Committee on Utilities and Energy. If passed, the proposal would also take into account monthly fees for future and current solar users.
“It really hurts. For us, the incentives would have been a big deal, ”said Concord Resident Nick Dragich.
Bernadette Del Chiaro of the California Solar & Storage Association told KPIX 5, “PG&E and other utilities don’t like it when you generate your own energy. They want you to buy their product and commit to their system. “
The utility is proposing to lower the balances of users who are now paying 25 cents per kilowatt hour to less than half that rate.
“Now is the time to make sure we don’t burden customers who can’t or won’t install a solar system,” said Ari Vanrenen, spokesman for Pacific Gas & Electric Company.
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San Francisco-based consumer advocacy groups like TURN (The Utility Reform Network) want a credit cut but don’t believe PG & E’s proposal will ultimately benefit lower-income homeowners and renters.
“We have to have a solar plan that is fair for people who don’t benefit from it. That’s why we need to lower the solar tax, ”said Mark Toney, Executive Director of TURN.
The solar industry said the utility’s proposal would undo progress toward a greener future, create more profit for PG&E, and less incentive for rooftop systems, which are utilities’ most threatening competitor.
“This would fundamentally affect the profitability of solar energy for consumers. Most people won’t, and it’s going to kill a lot of jobs and businesses, ”said Del Chiaro.
The public utility commission overseeing PG&E is expected to take a decision on the proposal in January 2022.
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PG&E said the latest proposal would not affect current solar users, but if pressed, they couldn’t guarantee that these loans will remain untouched forever.