June 2018 Newsletter

June 2018 Newsletter

This newsletter highlights the terrific work Solar Rights Alliance members did this Spring to stand up for their rights, as well as other information that I hope you find useful. I am very proud to be working with you. Please keep it up!

Utility Solar Power Grab defeated.

In May, after a flood of opposition from solar users, supporters and companies, state lawmakers dropped a utility-industry-backed proposal to seize control of rooftop solar in California.

At issue was a bill, SB 1088 (authored by State Sen. Bill Dodd). The bill was sold as a proposal to reduce fire risk from the electric grid, but included cleverly worded language that would have given the utilities control over rooftop solar as solar modernizes and grows. That would have raised the cost of solar for everyone and taken away the freedom and independence that comes with solar.

Solar Rights Alliance members joined by the hundreds with solar supporters across California to call, email and personally lobby lawmakers to stop the power grab. In response, the bill's author agreed to remove the anti-solar language from the proposal.

Solar Rights Alliance members in action.

This Spring, Solar Rights Alliance members stepped up in a variety of ways to champion the right to choose solar energy. Clockwise, from top:

David & Laura from Los Angeles are hosting Solar Rights Alliance's first ever Solar House Party.

Courtney from Danville and Erika from Granite City went to Sacramento to testify to lawmakers against SB 1088’s anti-solar provisions. 

Meanwhile, Ian from San Jose played an important behind-the-scenes role, contacting Solar Rights Alliance members to place phone calls to their state senators.

Nice work all around!

Energy storage proposal advances; utilities fight back. 

A proposal to make energy storage affordable for more people, SB 700, cleared a panel of state lawmakers in June. Over a hundred Solar Rights Alliance members contacted their lawmakers in support of the proposal - nice job!

Energy storage lets solar users store their extra solar energy in batteries during the day, so they can use it at night, rather than paying the utility. It is a game-changer for those who are getting hit with bigger evening electricity rates, but is still too expensive for most.

The bill still has a few more steps before becoming law and utility lobbyists might still squash it like they did last year. Your active support will be critical. Read more.

Why we need a Solar Bill of Rights.

This Spring's fight to stop the Utility Solar Power Grab (SB 1088) underscores the growing need for a Solar Bill of Rights that recognizes the right to go solar, namely:

Your solar energy is yours, not the utility's. You should be able to install, use, store or share your energy without the utility in the way. 

No red tape. Interconnecting solar and storage to the grid should be fast and cheap. 

Fair credit for sharing your extra energy. Your solar energy is a valuable, clean resource for the community, and you should be credited appropriately for sharing your extra energy. 

A Solar Bill of Rights for California would protect consumers against utility lobbying to cut the net metering credit, and arm consumers with new powers to fight permitting delays and extra costs when buying solar or upgrading to battery storage. Read more and take action. 

Solar saves everyone money. Here's why.

The utility monopoly often claims, falsely, that solar energy is a culprit to high electricity prices.

The truth: Rooftop solar reduces the cost of running the electricity grid. That saves ratepayers real money.

In fact, state officials in charge of managing California’s electricity grid recently cancelled 18 electricity transmission projects and revised 23 others for the coming year, saving ratepayers  $2.6 billion over the next year. Read more.

Our take on new solar building rules.

Starting in 2020, new residential buildings must be outfitted with solar panels, according to new rules adopted by state officials at the California Energy Commission in May. Read more about the decision and our take on what this means for consumers.

Have you been a victim of permitting red tape? Please tell us.

Many new solar consumers experience absurd permitting delays and costs that drive up both costs and blood pressure. Have you had such an experience? Please share it with us at info@solarrights.org or call 916-823-9064. We want to help residents lobby their city officials to cut unnecessary red tape.

Solar Rights Alliance Consumer Guide is for you.

We want to remind all Solar Rights Alliance members of the Solar Consumer Guide, a short and handy reference to frequently asked questions about home solar. Got a question or topic not addressed by the Consumer Guide? Let us know by emailing info@solarrights.org or calling 916-823-9064.