Enviros Seethe as California Plans to Reduce Solar Incentives

Enviros Seethe as California Plans to Reduce Solar Incentives

December 12, 2022

Environmental groups and the solar industry are up in arms as the state of California is set to significantly reduce its financial incentives for solar power. The LA Times reports, “California is poised to reduce payments to homes and businesses that go solar for clean electricity they supply to the power grid — a landmark shift in how the state promotes a crucial technology for fighting climate change.”

The state’s Public Utilities Commission plans to cut the base rate solar customers are paid from 30 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity they don’t use down to just 5 cents. The proposed reduction has enraged green groups and the solar industry alike. 

Meanwhile, the utilities in the state have argued that the huge financial benefits for solar customers come at the expense of customers who can’t afford to have solar panels put on their roofs. They remain unsatisfied with the current plan because it doesn’t fully eliminate the subsidies all together. 

The LA Times continues, “‘It is extremely disappointing that under this proposal, low-income families and all customers without solar will continue to pay a hidden tax on their electricity bills to subsidize rooftop solar for mostly wealthier Californians,’ said Kathy Fairbanks, a spokesperson for the utility-backed campaign. ‘The failure to finally eliminate the growing cost burden carried by non-solar customers in California is particularly troublesome given the billions of dollars in new federal clean energy subsidies that will ensure continued growth and healthy profits for large solar corporations for the next decade,’ she added.”

The utilities versus greens war should only escalate over the next month as the state commission prepares to vote on the final solar proposal. Solar power is not as reliable or affordable as traditional American-sourced fossil energy. Maybe even progressive California is waking up to the reality that not every customer can afford to bail out expensive green energy. 

US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm famously said, “We all look to California” as a model on energy. If that’s true, the rest of the country should start rolling back their solar incentives soon.