For the editor:
Many of us early adopters of solar panels have invested our savings in installing solar panels. We did this both for ecological reasons and because we wanted to stimulate the solar industry. It worked very well. Now the cost of solar panels has come down a lot from what we were paying for years ago. The PG&E tariff at the time meant that we could break even on our rooftop solar costs by reducing energy costs and minimum reimbursements for PG&E use of our electricity in 25 years. These calculations are now disturbed by the rate hikes proposed by PG&E.
Why is PG&E pushing for tariffs on rooftop solar? They say it’s to pass the maintenance costs of the grid onto the solar customers. Haven’t the solar customers paid by installing the solar panels, maintaining them and providing clean electricity that benefits everyone? We saved PG&E from building next-generation power plants. We need as much solar electricity as possible to limit climate change which has been amply demonstrated to be real, increasingly severe and coming sooner than expected. There have been horrific fires, terrible storms and new records for heat, cold, precipitation and snow across the world.
Imperial County and a few other counties had imposed tariffs on solar and solar installations dropped. When they reversed those rate hikes, solar installations resumed. Tariffs are killing rooftop solar and hurting homeowners.
Now is definitely not the time to stop solar power. It is estimated that by the end of 2020, solar energy supplied about 1/4 of California’s electricity. But California is not yet at net zero for carbon emissions. We should have more solar, not less.
The California Public Utilities Commission will make the final decision on solar rate hikes on January 27. The only way to influence them at this point is to write them a letter (firstname.lastname@example.org) or better yet call Governor Newsom who has a strong influence on them. Her phone number is 916-445-2841 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Solar is vital to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and seriously slowing the effects of catastrophic climate change. Please don’t delay and call Governor Newsom today and write to the CPUC, if you can.
-Eileen Mitro, Mendocino Climate Action