California Plans Delay to Solar-Subsidy Reform, ClearView Says

Aug 15, 2022 by Bloomberg
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PetersenDean Inc. employees carry solar panels onto the roof of a home in Lafayette, California, U.S., on Tuesday, May 15, 2018. California became the first in the U.S. to require solar panels on almost all new homes. Most new units built after Jan. 1, 2020, will be required to include solar systems as part of the standards adopted by the California Energy Commission.

A California judge proposed delaying reforms to a solar-incentive program that’s helped rooftop systems flourish in the state, according to research firm ClearView Energy Partners LLC.

The draft proposal before the California Public Utilities Commission would extend the deadline by a year to Aug. 27, 2023, according a commission document, ClearView said in a note to clients. The commission didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The commission is attempting to overhaul the incentive program -- known as net-metering -- that helped make rooftop systems mainstream but has drawn criticism for raising power bills for poor and middle-class Californians. The commission’s initial proposal sparked a fierce debate over how to balance the fight against climate change with a push to bolster social and economic equity.

Read: Fight over solar subsidy tests California’s climate commitment

An earlier proposal risked slowing the growth of solar, an instrumental part of the state’s effort to fully green its electrical system by 2045. That plan would have reduced rooftop incentives by as much as 80% -- and required a new monthly fee for residents who install solar. Research firm Wood Mackenzie said that plan would have cut that market in half by 2024.

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By Brian Eckhouse , Mark Chediak

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