Wednesday, December 8, 2021


Latino groups say Nevada's new political maps have diluted their influence, especially in Las Vegas' Congressional District 1; and strikes that erupted in what became known as "Striketober" aren't over yet.


Presidents Biden and Putin discuss the Ukrainian border in a virtual meeting; Senate reaches an agreement to raise the debt ceiling; and officials testify about closing the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.


Rural areas are promised more equity from the U.S. Agriculture Secretary while the AgrAbility program offers new help for farmers with disabilities; and Pennsylvanians for abandoned mine reclamation says infrastructure monies are long overdue.

Rooftop Solar Backers Voice Concerns about CPUC Vote


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

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
BP's refinery in Whiting, IN covers 1,400 acres in northwestern Indiana, just a few miles from the Chicago loop. (Adobe Stock)


WHITING, Ind. -- International oil-and-gas producer BP will pay more than $500,000 to the federal government as part of a legal settlement over air …

Social Issues

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Strikes that erupted in what became known as "Striketober" aren't over yet. After a two-day strike in October, health-care …

Social Issues

DENVER -- Women and low-income students disproportionately put their college careers on hold during the pandemic, according to a new report. Of the 1…

A proposal by Milwaukee City Alder Marina Dimitrijevic would provide 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents, regardless of their gender. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- Like most of the nation, Wisconsin does not have a statewide paid parental leave policy, but in Milwaukee, a three-month paid …

Social Issues

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- With kids stuck at home early in the pandemic, a new report said child-abuse cases decreased in 2020, but children's advocates say …

The Minnesota Attorney General's Office says even when someone is facing serious financial pressure with a past-due loan, they often don't have to make snap decisions. To avoid scams, borrowers are urged to seek out free consultation. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

MINNEAPOLIS -- With forbearance protections ending during this stage of the pandemic, some struggling homeowners are sorting out their mortgage …

Social Issues

RAPID CITY, S.D. -- If South Dakota wants to turn out a thriving economy, quality affordable child care needs to be a vital component, according to a …

Social Issues

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In a system plagued by a history of disparities, Ohio's child-welfare workers and children's advocates say it is time to reimagine …


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