Tesla Asks Employees to Help Fight California Proposal to Increase Home Solar Costs

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Tesla is asking employees to publicly protest a policy proposal set forth in the state of California that could increase the costs associated with installing and operating a home solar system, not only for new customers but also for around 1.3 million existing residential solar customers in the state today — reports CNBC.

The proposal, currently under consideration at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), would introduce new, monthly grid-connection charges for solar customers and reduce how much money the state pays them for any excess power generated by their system and sent back to the grid.

CPUC views the current rates offered to solar customers as a large subsidy for Californian homeowners who are mostly well-off.

While proponents of the changes argue that the included rebates for residential energy storage systems like Tesla’s Powerwall will accelerate the transition to clean energy in Californian homes and bring renewable energy to lower-income households, the changes are unequivocally opposed by the majority of solar power advocates.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has publicly said that he is not a fan of government subsidies for businesses and large corporations. However, the subsidies these proposed changes seek to adjust are offered directly to home solar customers, and not only reduce the overall cost of installation and operation but also make it a more compelling investment.

Take a look at the internal directive Tesla sent out to its energy employees below, as transcribed by CNBC:

Announcement – Net Energy Metering 3.0

Date: Dec. 22, 2021

NEM 3.0 is a proposal under consideration at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) that reduces the benefit of going solar for customers of PG&E, SCE and SDG&E.

Talking Points

  1. If adopted, the proposal would apply to new customers that submit interconnection applications to add solar [by] May 2022. It would also apply to existing customers on NEM 1.0 or NEM 2.0 after their system has been in operation 15 years.
  2. Exported energy would be credited at wholesale rates (approximately $0.04/kWh).
  3. Residential solar customers on NEM 3.0 would be required to pay the utility a new fixed charge of $8/kW per month, regardless of energy used. This comes to roughly $50-$60 per month for an average size solar system.
  4. This proposal is not final and can can change in response to public feedback. The public can express their opinion to the CPUC by taking these actions:
    1. Weigh in with the CPUC by submitting a comment to the Public Advisors Office.
    2. Sign up to provide a verbal comment directly to the five commissioners at the CPUC’s next public meeting on January 13.
    3. Join the Solar Rights Alliance and find out all the ways you can act to protect rooftop solar in California.
    4. Save Our Solar Rally – San Francisco (CPUC Building) and Los Angeles (Pershing Square) January 13 at 11 a.m.
  5. Tesla is working with our partners in the solar and environmental community to urge the CPUC and Governor’s office to adopt a more reasonable approach that doesn’t punish solar customers.

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