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California Regulators Preserve Right To Sell Electricity Back To Grid

— The solar industry won a key victory this week as California regulators extended the program that allows homeowners to sell solar-generated power back to utilities.

Aired 3/28/14 on KPBS News.

Solar advocate said California regulators gave consumers a victory this week.

Sunwheel Energy Partners

Solar power advocates are hailing the California Public Utility Commission ruling to preserve net metering. Net metering allows rooftop solar owners to sell electricity to utilities and in many cases zero out their electric bills.

Regulators will require utilities to buy power from existing solar owners for 20 years, so that homeowners and businesses . They say that allows owners to pay for the upfront capital investment in solar.

Brad Heavner is a spokesman for the California Solar Energy Industries Association and he expects the fight to shift to how much that energy is worth.

"Utilities want to give you a low price for the electricity that you put on the grid and make you pay full price for the electricity you take off the grid," Haevner said. "We don't think that's quite fair, but there will be a big discussion about that over the next year."

California has more than 200,000 solar energy projects, more than any other state. There is enough solar capacity to generate 2,000 megawatts of electricity.

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