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California Public Utilities Commission may unveil new solar rules soon

Solar panels on roof of Poway affordable housing project
Katie Schoolov
/
KPBS
Solar panels on a roof of an affordable housing project in Poway, Calif. June 19, 2014.

Solar industry advocates say state regulators may be poised to unveil new rules which have the potential to reshape the state’s solar marketplace.

September 29th is exactly 90 days from the time the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) closed public comment on proposals to update California’s Net Energy Metering rules.

“The last time this happened, at the end of 2021, that December 13th decision came exactly 90 days after they closed the previous round of comments,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, of the California Solar and Storage Alliance.

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The state legislature mandates the CPUC conduct regular reviews of the program, and regulators have been looking at this issue since the summer of 2020.

Ten months ago, the commission unveiled a proposal that suggested adding steep grid connection fees, $50 to $60 a month for a typical rooftop solar owner.

The CPUC also proposed slashing the value of solar sold back to the grid.

Critics called the plan devastating for the state’s solar industry, which employs some 68,000 workers.

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“There was a big public outcry,” said Dave Rosenfeld of the Solar Rights Alliance. “We were part of that. The governor even weighed in at the end of January and said this isn’t quite right. The CPUC then put (on) the pause button.”

Regulators have given public comments about the direction they are moving in.

If they do issue another proposed ruling on Thursday it would likely set a timetable that calls for a final CPUC vote in November.

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