Tesla Fights California Law That Could Make Solar Energy Costs Soar

Austin , Texas , USA - July 19th 2021: Tesla Home Battery Powerwall.
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In an announcement issued in late December, and reported by CNBC last Friday, electric vehicle and solar roof manufacturer Tesla has asked employees to fight a new California proposal that could make residential rooftop solar energy more expensive for many homeowners.

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Under the legislation, residents using solar power would have to pay grid-connection charges based on the size of their system. The legislation would also reduce payments solar customers in California receive for selling their excess power back to the grid.

In addition to free electricity and a more sustainable lifestyle, the capability to sell excess power back to the grid is one of the primary attractions to solar electricity for many consumers. By selling excess power back, consumers can achieve net-zero electric bills or even receive money back from utility companies.

In a tweet from Dec. 13, 2021, @WholeMarsBlog pointed out that if the new tax rate was set at $8 per kilowatt-hour, as proposed, it could cost some Tesla Solar Roof owners as much as $80 a month for a 10 kW system. Elon Musk replied on Twitter, “Penalizing sustainable energy is insane.”

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The California Public Utilities Commission believes the proposal, titled Net Energy Metering 3.0, would help the state meet its “groundbreaking clean energy goals” according to a news release published by CPUC.

The legislation aims to incentivize customers to install storage, such as Tesla’s solar battery, in conjunction with solar arrays. The CUPC says the widespread use of on-site battery storage will help California decrease its dependency on fossil fuels between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. when demand is high and the sun has begun to set.

According to the CPUC, the tariffs collected from homeowners for grid connection will help maintain California’s grid and fund “public purpose programs.” An Equity Fund will be established, allocating $600 million to “scale up low-income access to distributed clean energy.”

The Proposed Decision will be on the Voting Meeting agenda for the CPUC on Jan. 27, 2022.

 In a concise announcement titled Net Energy Metering 3.0, transcribed by CNBC, Tesla summarized the legislation and pointed out that the proposal can change based on public feedback. The announcement urged employees to take several steps to fight the legislation. The announcement suggested that employees:   

  • Submit a comment to the Public Advisors Office
  • Offer a verbal comment at the CPUC public meeting Jan. 13, 2022
  • Join the Solar Rights Alliance
  • Attend the Save Our Solar Rally – San Francisco at the CPUC Building or in Los Angeles at Pershing Square Jan. 13, at 11 a.m.
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Tesla is not the only solar company opposed to the legislation. In a previous report from CNBC.com, Sunrun’s vice president of public policy, Walker Wright, said the proposal would “impose the highest discriminatory charges on solar and energy storage customers in the U.S., putting rooftop solar and batteries out of reach for countless families in California just as more households are demanding that the state do more to combat climate change and provide them with reliable, sustainable energy.”

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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