California: New group formed to defend net metering

18. April 2013 | Markets & Trends, Applications & Installations, Financial & Legal Affairs | By:  Jonathan Gifford

A coalition of solar companies and physicians has been formed in California, to push back against utility company attempts to wind back net metering for solar customers.

The Californian flag.

A new coalition has been formed to support net metering.

Debate has been intensifying in regions where high levels of residential rooftop photovoltaics are impacting on electricity utility revenue models, such as in parts of Australia and California. The CAUSE coalition has been formed in the U.S. state to push back against utility attempts to wind up net metering for solar households. CAUSE stands for Californians Against Utilities Stopping solar Energy.

Los-Angeles area physicians Luis Pacheco and Deonza Thymes will co-chair CAUSE and they are arguing in support of net metering for rooftop photovoltaics on public health grounds. They say that increases in rooftop solar means healthier communities.

"I grew up in a part of Los Angeles that is affected disproportionately by dirty air," said co-Chair Deonza Thymes, in a statement announcing CAUSE’s launch. "I became a physician, in part, to help people with health conditions caused by pollutants. Now that we are making progress with solar, the utilities are trying to turn back the clock. They should be helping to give Californians the choice to go solar."

Solar leasing and installation companies Sunrun and SolarCity have joined CAUSE.

California utilities PG&E, SDG&E and SCE have been lobbying to bring net metering for solar customers to an end, the CAUSE statement says. CAUSE argues that such a measure would result in less solar being installed, costing ratepayers and taxpayers, through the negative health impact increase fossil fuel electricity production would cause.

The issue of net metering is becoming increasingly contentious in California, and the California Public Utilities Commission recently ruled that 5.7 GW of rooftop photovoltaics should qualify for net metering. At present CAUSE estimates that 1.4 GW of rooftop photovoltaics have been installed in the state.

Utilities argue that because solar households pay reduced variable charges, through net metering, they are not paying their fair share of grid costs. Most households with photovoltaic arrays, without storage, still draw on the electricity grid when the sun is not shining.

To leave a comment you must first sign in or register your details

Displaying results 1 to 3 out of 3

Daniel Ferra from Palm Springs

Friday, 23.08.2013 20:27

This petition will ask the California Regulators and Law makers to allocate Renewable Portfolio Standards to Ca. home owners, the RPS is the allocation method that is used to set aside a certain percentage of electrical generation for Renewable Energy in the the State.

The State of California has mandated that 33% of its Energy come from Renewable Energy by 2020.

The state currently produces about 71% of the electricity it consumes, while it imports 8% from the Pacific Northwest and 21% from the Southwest.

This is how we generate our electricity in 2011, natural gas was burned to make 45.3% of electrical power generated in-state . Nuclear power from Diablo Canyon in San Luis Obispo County accounted for 9.15%, large hydropower 18.3%, Renewable 16.6% and coal 1.6%.

There is 9% missing from San Onofre and with the current South Western drought, how long before the 18.3% hydro will be effected ?

Another generator of power that jumps out is natural gas, 45.3%, that is a lot of Fracked Wells poisoning our ground water, 3 to 6 million gallons of water are used per well. If Fracking is safe why did Vice Pres Cheney lobby and win Executive, Congressional, and Judicial exemptions from:

Clean Water Act

Safe Drinking Water

Act Clean Air Act

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act

National Environmental Policy Act

"Americans should not have to accept unsafe drinking water just because natural gas is cheaper than Coal. the Industry has used its political power to escape accountability, leaving the American people unprotected, and no Industry can claim to be part of the solution if it supports exemptions from the basic Laws designed to ensure that we have Clean Water and Clean Air" Natural Resources Defense Council

We have to change how we generate our electricity, with are current drought conditions and using our pure water for Fracking, there has to be a better way to generate electricity, and there is, a proven stimulating policy.

The Feed in Tariff is a policy mechanism designed to accelerate investment in Renewable Energy, the California FiT allows eligible customers generators to enter into 10- 15- 20- year contracts with their utility company to sell the electricity produced by renewable energy, and guarantees that anyone who generates electricity from R E source, whether Homeowner, small business, or large utility, is able to sell that electricity. It is mandated by the State to produce 33% R E by 2020.

FIT policies can be implemented to support all renewable technologies including:
Photovoltaics (PV)
Solar thermal
Fuel cells
Tidal and wave power.

There is currently 3 utilities using a Commercial Feed in Tariff in 3 Counties in California, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, and Sacramento, are paying their businesses 17 cents per kilowatt hour for the Renewable Energy they produce, under the Feed in Tariff. We can get our Law makers and Regulators to implement a Residential Feed in Tariff, to help us weather Global Warming, protect our communities from grid failures, and generate a fair revenue stream for the Homeowner, but we have to over come some obstacles.

The State has mandated that we get 33% of our electricity from Renewable Energy (RPS), seems like we should be sharing this 33% pie, utilities, third party leasing companies, and the large energy companies who mostly build out in the fragile desert eco-systems, all fight over that 33% pie, and what about the Law abiding, Tax paying, Homeowning, Voting Citizens, why are they left out of the Renewable pie sharing ?

Here are some of the reasons and a look as to why it is better to own your own Renewable Energy System.

Third party leasing is fine on the surface and is making a contribution in reducing our fossil fuel consumption, but third party leasers, the Big Boy solar companies that build in the Fragile Desert Eco-Systems, and the Utilities all fight over Renewable Portfolio Standards Pie allowance.

All Three leagues have a piece of the pie, but there is 4 to 8 teams in each league that want a piece of that carve out money pie, causing huge infighting, and as of right now the homeowner is left out of the ballgame, with no chance of eating the all american pie, why? because we are not represented at the Renewable Portfolio Standard dining hall, with a chair at the pie sharing table.

"The benefits of owning a renewable energy system far outweigh the benefits of a lease or a power purchase agreement (PPA). Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, homeowners are eligible for a federal personal income tax credit up to 30% of the purchase cost of their renewable energy system, without a maximum limit.** Homeowners can utilize the incentive money in any way they choose. But homeowners that choose to lease their systems turn over their rebates and incentives to the third party lease or PPA companies associated with the solar systems installed on their homes."

"The owner of a renewable energy system is also sheltered from rising electricity costs, which have historically increased on average of 3-5% each year. This presents homeowners with opportunities to save money each month on energy and also reduces their reliance on third-party utility companies. By purchasing a renewable energy system with cash or through a loan, a homeowner can completely pay off his or her system and then independently produce clean energy.

By choosing a lease or a PPA option homeowners are essentially substituting their utility companies with third-party leasing companies. Additionally, homeowners will likely be required to purchase their systems, renew their leases, or have the systems removed from their roof and revert to paying utility rates once their leases have ended." Charlie Angione.

"There’s absolutely no such thing as a $0 down solar lease or PPA and here’s why. A requirement of both of these financing programs is that you agree upfront to give the leasing or PPA company your 30% federal tax credit which is worth thousands of dollars as well as any other financial incentives.

At $5.57 per Watt. a 6 kW solar system would yield a federal tax credit of $10,026!

With a $0 down loan instead of a lease, you’ll get to keep the 30% federal tax credit as well as all other applicable financial incentives for yourself and you’ll own your solar system instead of renting it, for a much greater return on investment.

And if you do decide to lease instead of own, good luck ever selling your home with a lease attached to it. What homebuyer will want to purchase your home and assume your remaining lease payments on a used solar system on your roof, when they can buy and own a brand new system for thousands less." Ray Boggs

We also need to change a current law, California law does not allow Homeowners to oversize their Renewable Energy systems.

Allowing homeowners to oversize their Renewable Energy systems, is a true capitalistic tool, that will give us the potential to democratize our energy generation and transform millions of homes and small business into energy generators, during Sandy, Solar homes where not utilized to their full potential, because there was no disconnect and or transfer switch, to turn off incoming grid and start in home Solar power. how comforting it would be, to have mandatory transfer switches on all residential and small business renewable energy installations.

We need a National Feed in Tariff, for Renewable Energy, with laws that level the playing field, this petition starts with homeowners in California.

Japan, Germany, and our state of Hawaii, will pay residents between 13 - 37 cents per kilowatt hour, here in California they will pay a commercial FiT in a few counties at 17 cents per kilowatt hour, No Residential FiT and they wont let us oversize our Residential Renewable Energy systems.

Campaign to allow Californian residents to sell electricity obtained by renewable energy for a fair pro-business market price. Will you read, sign, and share this petition?

Joan McCaffrey from solana beach |

Tuesday, 23.04.2013 22:51

I am for net metering that is fair. What most homeowners do not realize is that clean renewables does not = clean reliables. There is a growing increase of unusable surpluses--ie energy generated above capacity needs. Furthermore, there is a cost to the utility to provide reliable power when the sun goes down, cloud cover happens, etc that (ie, a reserve) in which they must purchase energy for when solar does not generate, as expected. The money paid for net metering needs to accurately reflect the value of that capacity when the PV owner is generating. So, if the utilities paid for the real value of the generation (which could be negative and COST the homeowner for the unneeded generation), then a market would be created for local storage of energy, thus creating a much more stable grid with highly distributed energy sources that were reliable.

Michael Boyd

Tuesday, 23.04.2013 19:05

"Solar leasing and installation companies Sunrun and SolarCity have joined CAUSE...California utilities PG&E, SDG&E and SCE have been lobbying to bring net metering for solar customers to an end, the CAUSE statement says." How's that work when SunRun and SolarCity are affiliates of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). Wonder if CAUSE got any donations from the utilities they purport to be fighting? Something is wrong with this story.

Daily newsletter

Keep your finger firmly on the photovoltaic pulse: sign up for our daily newsletter

Magazine subscription

Choose between a digital and print subscription from pv magazine's online shop. A non-subscriber? Check out our sample articles.

Press releases

Want to publish your press releases for free? Simply log in or register, enter the information you want to appear and we'll publish it for you!