California solar policy under construction?

California has been a state that has set records in solar production, generation, incentives and even policy. So why now does it feel like they are taking a step backwards?

In a recent article by Reem Nasr, “Utilities’ newest solar battleground: California”, 

“The California Public Utilities Commission on Monday holds hearings that could result in changes to the way that solar panel users are reimbursed for the power they generate, improbably making the Golden State the newest front in a battle between power companies and rooftop solar firms. On one side are proponents of solar energy and the companies that make the panels, while arrayed against them are utilities that want policy changes that would result in solar power being less cost-effective for homeowners and businesses that want to use it.”

Many Californians rely on net metering as a way to obtain their solar energy system. Net metering by definition from SEIA, Solar Energy industries Association,

“Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. For example, if a residential customer has a PV system on the home’s rooftop, it may generate more electricity than the home uses during daylight hours. If the home is net-metered, the electricity meter will run backwards to provide a credit against what electricity is consumed at night or other periods where the home’s electricity use exceeds the system’s output. Customers are only billed for their “net” energy use. On average, only 20-40% of a solar energy system’s output ever goes into the grid. Exported solar electricity serves nearby customers’ loads.”

The current net metering policy was put into place no more than two years ago. These new proposals currently being submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission could not only restructure this policy moving forward but set new standards for states like Tennessee who is one of four states that does not have laws regulating net metering.