A group of fourteen affordable housing organizations sent a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today declaring their support for the continuation of solar net metering. The MASH Coalition told the CPUC that California's low-income tenants can and will continue to benefit from solar, should the state send a strong signal that it is committed to the future of rooftop solar.
The filing is a response to actions by the state's investor-owned utilities proposing to make California the first major solar state to abandon net metering, a cornerstone policy of every successful solar market in the country. The utility proposals would put future customers' ability to go solar at risk. The CPUC is expected to determine the fate of net metering in California by December 31, 2015.
"Bringing solar power to our neediest communities has been helped by incentives from the Multi-family Affordable Solar Housing rebate program combined with the availability of virtual net energy metering," wrote Randall Simmrin, of The MASH Coalition. "Without net metering, and specifically virtual net metering, California's affordable housing community would not be able to afford to bring the benefits of solar to our low-income tenants."
The letter was signed by Affirmed Housing, Bayview Community Development Corporation, Chelsea Investment Corporation, CHW, The Core Companies, EAH, the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara, Innovative Housing Opportunities, Levy Affiliated, LINC Housing, Many Mansions, UHC Communities, Standard Property Company + Global Advisors, and Vitus Innovative Development. The coalition represents 28 megawatts of planned installations across California
"Net metering gives all residential markets, including low income markets, access to clean energy and, by doing this, will reduce the energy bills of our most vulnerable households, improve the environmental quality of our communities, and help California meet its renewable energy goals," said CEO and Co-founder of Everyday Energy Scott Sarem.
Net energy metering is a program that compensates solar consumers for any excess electricity they export to the grid. The program has helped fuel the explosive growth of solar across the state. Before the end of this year, the CPUC will decide on the future of net energy metering, including among options proposed by the three investor owned utilities, PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E, all of which include fees and rates designed to make solar uneconomical in order to protect the utility's monopoly.
"Solar should be for everyone," said Bernadette Del Chiaro, Executive Director of CALSEIA. "Maintaining net metering lets us continue to bring the benefits of rooftop solar to all parts of the economic spectrum."