Friday, July 30, 2021

Play

Educators' unions call for efforts to ensure in-person learning keeps students, teachers, families, and staff safe; and an update on hate crimes by state.

Play

Congress passes Capitol security funding; House Freedom Caucus members want Cheney, Kinzinger out of GOP conference; Schumer closes a deal to advance $3.5 trillion reconciliation package; and a new report says investor-owned utilities try to block rooftop solar.

Rooftop Solar Backers Voice Concerns about CPUC Vote

Play

Wednesday, June 23, 2021   

SAN FRANCISCO - Groups working to battle climate change warn that rooftop solar and energy-efficiency programs could be in big trouble if the California Public Utilities Commission votes Thursday to revamp the way the agency evaluates them.

The groups have claimed that
changes to what's known as the "Avoided Costs Calculator" will cut the value of rooftop solar in half, and worry this could lead to a cut in reimbursements - or extra fees - for families who install rooftop solar panels.

Laura Neish, executive director of the nonprofit 350 Bay Area, said she thinks this could be "the beginning of the end" for small-scale solar.

"When homeowners are not adequately compensated," she said, "they will stop putting solar on their roofs, which will diminish the amount of relatively cheap distributed energy, and eliminate the benefits of that from the grid of the future."

The Avoided Costs Calculator is used to evaluate the cost and benefits of any given program. The commission normally only allows big changes to the ACC in even-numbered years. This proposal is on the consent calendar with no debate - and opponents want it pulled from the agenda. Last week, the state's three biggest utilities sent a letter to the commission, arguing the proposed changes are minor and warranted, and that they'd allow for more accurate projections.

Neish said she believes the utilities want these changes because they favor large-scale solar projects that bring a guaranteed rate of return.

"They are doing what they are being incented to do," she said, "and they are fighting against these much smaller distributed projects because they do not benefit from it directly."

Laura Deehan, state director of Environment California, a group that just published a report on rooftop solar, argued that the state needs to protect net-metering programs, not put up roadblocks.

"We're living with the consequences of global warming right now," she said, "and so, getting to a 100% renewable-energy future has to happen as fast as possible, and rooftop solar and energy efficiency are some of the best tools we have to solve this problem."

This fall, the CPUC is set to consider a proposal to charge people who have solar on their rooftops an extra $50 to $100 a month, ostensibly to help pay for the power lines that criss-cross the state. Opponents of that plan are gathering signatures on petitions at savecaliforniasolar.org.

Disclosure: 350 Bay Area contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Environment, Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Supporters say legalizing marijuana for recreational use would be an economic boon for Ohio, but opponents have concerns about health and safety. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

By Troy Pierson / Broadcast version by Mary Schuermann reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration. As marijuana becomes more …


Social Issues

SALT LAKE CITY - With rising numbers of people targeted in hate crimes and related violence, a new report analyzes the hate-crime laws in each state…

Social Issues

BOSTON - Educators' unions are calling on the state to support their efforts to ensure in-person learning in the fall keeps students, teachers…


According to AARP Connecticut, 47% of family caregivers have had at least one financial setback, such as having less money for retirement or savings, or cutting back on their own healthcare spending. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

HARTFORD, Conn. - In Connecticut, more than 460,000 people care for close friends or family members who can't manage on their own - and their …

Social Issues

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Millions of Americans soon could find eviction notices on their front doors, but New Mexico renters will not be among them - as …

The White House says its plan to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices could yield over a half- trillion dollars in federal savings over 10 years. (Olivier Le Moal/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire advocates for affordable healthcare access want Congress to lower prescription costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate …

Social Issues

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. -- With many Virginians still experiencing pandemic-related unemployment, students at a state community college were able to get …

Health and Wellness

LANSING, Mich. -- Advocates for home- and community-based services in Michigan urged Congress to build off state efforts and invest in what's become …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021