“The changes to net metering approved by the CPUC are a step backwards when we really need to be moving forward with solar and battery storage. It is a dark day in California when the utility regulators try to block out the sun.” 

Sacramento, CA—The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted today to approve changes to solar net energy metering that will make rooftop solar much less affordable in California.

Based on an initial analysis by solar advocates, changes to net metering would significantly reduce California’s solar market by slashing the value of solar energy put back on the grid by 75 percent, effective April 2023. It represents the largest cut to the value of solar in U.S. history. The result is an expected cliff in the growth of new solar installations.

The changes also do not do enough to advance energy storage as it extends the payback periods for these combined systems beyond what they currently are. Today, California is installing roughly 30,000 batteries compared to 200,000 solar systems. With high costs, supply chain constraints, inflation and permitting and interconnection delays and challenges, it will take years before the storage market can match the solar market.

Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar & Storage Association (CALSSA) issued the following statement on the CPUC’s vote to slash solar net metering.

The CPUC vote is a loser for California on many levels. For the solar industry, it will result in business closures and the loss of green jobs. For middle class and working class neighborhoods where solar is growing fastest, it puts clean energy further out of reach. For our grid reliability needs, it fails to promise robust growth in battery storage. And for California’s race to clean energy, it puts us behind our goals and out of step with the national pro-solar agenda. 

Solar advocates are proud we were able to fight back against the most egregious attacks on rooftop solar the CPUC included in earlier proposed changes to net metering. We stopped a discriminatory solar tax and protected current solar users from a broken deal. 

Still, the changes to net metering approved by the CPUC are a step backwards when we really need to be moving forward with solar and battery storage. It is a dark day in California when the utility regulators try to block out the sun. The solar movement will continue looking for ways to keep rooftop solar growing and affordable in California despite this setback. 


Currently 1.5 million consumers use net metering, including thousands of public schools, churches, farms, and affordable housing developments, and it is the main driver of California’s world-renowned rooftop solar market. As a result of net metering, working and middle class neighborhoods are just under half of the rooftop solar market and the fastest growing segment today.

In total, distributed solar energy systems have added 13 gigawatts of solar energy to the state, roughly the size of six Diablo Canyon nuclear power plants. In addition, consumers have added nearly 1 gigawatt of energy storage which played a meaningful role in keeping the lights on during recent heat waves.

Big utilities want to change the rules in their favor in order to eliminate a growing competitor, keep consumers stuck in utility monopolies, and protect their profits. Utilities claim solar makes the energy bills of non-solar customers more expensive. But in reality, utility profits, infrastructure investment, transmission lines, and paying for their bad planning and the fires they cause are what drives energy rates up. Californians are not fooled, and real equity champions know energy fairness is about “making rooftop solar panels and batteries more—not less—affordable for working families and lower-income Californians.”

A proposed decision released in December 2021, that would have implemented an unprecedented solar tax and drastic net metering credit reductions, was shelved earlier this year after intense backlash and public disapproval from Governor Newsom. Despite that backlash and the overwhelming popularity of rooftop solar in California, the CPUC’s revised proposed decision still included an immediate and drastic slash to the value of net metering.

With rooftop solar’s vital contribution to reaching California’s clean energy goals, the promise of battery storage for grid reliability, and new federal incentives for going solar, a diverse coalition of solar supporters are calling on the California leaders to keep solar growing and affordable for all types of consumers. More than 160,000 people submitted comments to the CPUC and Governor Newsom calling for a strong NEM-3 decision, the highest count in CPUC history.