The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted 3-2 last week to extend its net solar metering rates for another four years, assuring customers they can continue earning retail rates for their surplus electricity.
“Much of the public battle between solar advocates and California’s big investor-owned utilities has been about these rates—utilities had asked to cut them, saying they unfairly shifted costs to non-solar customers,” Greentech reports. But the Commission also imposed what its president, Michael Picker, described as “aggressive” time-of-use (TOU) rates for net-metered customers.
“As soon as the successor tariff is implemented, net-metered solar customers will be required to move to TOU rates that charge different prices during different times of the day, to better match real-time costs of generating and transmitting energy across the grid at large,” St. John writes.
“We support a movement towards time-of-use rates as better aligning grid needs with economic signals,” said Vote Solar Executive Director Adam Browning. “We would have preferred to see a more gradual phase-in.”
The Greentech article includes a recap of the state’s net metering debate, showing how the CPUC decision “fits into California’s broader moves to incorporate rooftop solar, energy storage, demand response, and other grid-edge technologies into its energy regulatory regime.”