Tesla Seeks Help to Fight California Proposal to Increase Home Solar Costs

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is currently considering a policy proposal that seeks to 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.

A new campaign running on Tesla’s Engage platform urges Tesla owners to help convince California Governor Gavin Newsom and the CPUC to “reject the proposed solar tax and retroactive changes to existing solar customers.”

Bowing to pressure from the California utilities, the CPUC is proposing new net metering rules (NEM 3.0) that includes a “grid access” fee of $8/kW of installed solar per month – in addition to other fees – that could add between $50-$80/month to the electric bill of a home solar customer. If adopted, this would be the highest solar fee anywhere in the country, including states hostile to renewable energy. In addition, the proposal would reduce the value of bill credits for solar energy sent to the grid by about 80 percent.

The proposal concerns customers of Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) who have installed solar or plan to do so in the future.

If passed into law, the proposed changes will alter the rules for existing solar customers who have already signed contracts and purchased a solar energy system. This “violates basic principles of fairness,” said Tesla.

Customers who installed solar under the NEM 1.0 and NEM 2.0 rules, which were originally guaranteed to remain in place for 20 years, would see their “grandfathering period” cut down to 15 years from the date of installation under the new policy, after which they would be switched over to NEM 3.0.

“Support distributed solar and storage in California by making your voice heard. Please consider contacting the Public Utilities Commission today and encourage them to reject the solar fee and changes to grandfathering rules,” reads Tesla’s call to action.

You can help Tesla fight against the approval of the NEM 3.0 policy proposal by either sending a message to Governor Newsom and the CPUC from the campaign page on Tesla Engage or by adding a public comment to the proceeding on the California Public Utilities Commission website.

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk in December said that California’s plans to impose taxes on solar customers in the state are “insane.” This is likely going to add to the already extensive bad blood between Musk and his former home state.

Earlier this month, Tesla also asked employees to lobby against the NEM 3.0 proposal.

The CPUC is expected to render a decision on the proposal as soon as January 27, 2022, and the regulator is accepting public feedback on the matter until that time.

Here’s how you can make sure your voice is heard, according to Tesla:

  1. Sign up to provide a verbal comment directly to the 5 Commissioners at an upcoming CPUC public meeting on January 13 or January 27 .
  2. Email the CPUC (public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov) and the governor’s office (https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail) using the tools above or on your own.
  3. Call the Governor’s office directly to ask Governor Newsom to stop this unfair proposal before it discriminates against existing and future solar customers at 916-445-2841.
  4. Tweet at the Public Utilities Commission and Governor Newsom (@californiapuc @GavinNewsom) using the hashtag #SaveSolar.

Musk called the proposal on Tuesday night a “bizarre anti-environment move by [the government] of California.”