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CA Energy Commission Tables Vote on Poorly Designed Shared Solar Proposal

Commission preserves the intention of California’s new home solar requirement

Wednesday, Nov 13 2019

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Press Release

SACRAMENTO, Calif. & WASHINGTON, D.C. — Solar advocates, installers and industry associations applaud the California Energy Commission’s unanimous decision today to table the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)’s SolarShares proposal. SolarShares is the first shared solar proposal considered under the 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards that require all new homes to include solar energy.

The Building Standards allow for shared or community solar and battery systems to fulfill the requirement; however, SMUD’s plan would have allowed new homes to buy into existing and previously planned projects. This is clearly not the vision for net zero homes included in the update of the Building Standards, which the Commission affirmed is to expand solar energy penetration in the state. 

Today’s action opens the conversation for other utilities considering proposals under the shared solar provision. 

Industry leaders and advocates provided the following statements supporting tabling the proposal and advocating for new, local solar projects that grow the industry and provide additional grid services including reliability and resilience:

We commend the California Energy Commission for seeing SMUD’s application for what it is—a direct attempt to water down California’s building standard,” said Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “SMUD’s application was not consistent with industry standards for community solar and opened the door for further deviations. Going forward, the California Energy Commission should better define community solar guidelines so that consumers can continue to benefit from local and on-site solar plus storage solutions.”

The solar industry is a valuable asset for California, and the right solutions will help ensure that all new homes enjoy the full economic, health and resilience benefits solar provides,” said Ed Smeloff, Senior Director of Grid Integration at Vote Solar and former SMUD Board member. “Californians want more solar to power new homes. Now, the Commission can consider new proposals that deliver on the will of the legislature, and the people.”

"We applaud the California Energy Commission for listening to the concerns of community members and environmental advocates and tabling SMUD's proposal," said Anne Hoskins, Sunrun’s Chief Policy Officer. "We are optimistic that the Commission will preserve the integrity of the new homes solar standards and ensure Californians have access to reliable and clean electricity through their rooftops and energy storage for greater reliability."

We are glad the CEC put the breaks on SMUD’s plan. We hope their deliberations prioritize protecting the ability of thousands of new homeowners in the Sacramento area to reap the savings and security of rooftop solar,” said Dave Rosenfeld of Solar Rights Alliance, the association of solar users. “SMUD’s SolarShares will lock consumers out of those benefits, and lock them into a program with negligible savings and no protection from power outages. We encourage the CEC to stand up for consumers as they consider their final decision.”

About SEIA®: 

Celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2019, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry, which now employs more than 242,000 Americans. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to build jobs and diversity, champion the use of cost-competitive solar in America, remove market barriers and educate the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.

 

Media Contact: 

Morgan Lyons, SEIA's Senior Communications Manager, mlyons@seia.org (202) 556-2872

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