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CPUC Must not Push Solar Energy Beyond the Reach of the Poor

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People in Fresno protest a CPUC proposal that will have lasting effects on the growth of rooftop solar in California on July 27, 2022. (GV Wire File)
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In pulpits and pews statewide, a quiet revolution has been rising, steady, and resolute. Black churches are mobilizing around climate and environmental justice issues, vowing to embrace sustainability and deploy renewable energy to help combat climate change.

Ambrose Carroll

Rev. Ambrose Carroll Sr.

Special to CalMatters

Opinion

Green the Church is among those organizations leading the way in advancing social and climate justice by rallying congregations to embrace the social and economic benefits of solar energy. But that vision for sustainable, faith-based communities across California could suffer a harsh blow.

The California Public Utilities Commission’s misguided Net Energy Metering 3.0 proposal to regulate rooftop solar will put affordable renewable energy out of reach for too many Californians. The plan would slash the credit rooftop solar owners with battery storage receive by as much as 75%, and will significantly reduce the earning potential of solar systems over their lifetimes.

Green the Church has been working to empower 2,000 churches to add rooftop solar panels, backup storage and charging stations to their places of worship. We have been rallying Black churches to create “green” ministries, conduct energy audits and make their church operations and buildings more sustainable.

In California and across the country, faith leaders have been stepping up.

CPUC Proposal Amounts to Climate Injustice

The CPUC’s new proposal will devastate those plans. The revised policy fails to take into account churches, schools and small business. By April, any new solar sustainability programs will be subject to the punitive 75% scaling down of the NEM credit for feeding power back to the grid. As a result, any progressive solar sustainability program will simply not pencil out well if net metering is so aggressively scaled back.

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