“Don’t Tax the Sun” events are part of the largest ever submission of live and video-recorded public comments in CPUC history

Nearly 1000 solar supporters gathered on the steps of the CPUC on Thursday to give public testimony.

CALIFORNIA—Thousands of solar workers, consumers, clean energy advocates, community leaders, conservationists, and climate activists rallied on Thursday to protest the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) latest proposal to tax rooftop solar and drastically reduce the credits consumers receive for selling their solar energy back to the grid. Solar supporters held simultaneous actions in Los Angeles and at the CPUC headquarters in San Francisco.

Hundreds more gathered in LA to give public testimony live on stage and via video which will be submitted to the CPUC public record.

In San Francisco hundreds of solar supporters lined-up at the CPUC headquarters to deliver public comments. In Los Angeles, solar supporters gave “public comments” on stage to a mock dais of CPUC commissioners, while hundreds of attendees recorded their own video testimonials to submit to the CPUC. Combined, Thursday’s actions are the largest ever submission of live and video-recorded public comments in CPUC history.

The CPUC is currently considering changes to “net energy metering,” the state policy that makes rooftop solar more affordable for consumers of all types by compensating them for the excess energy they produce and share with their neighbors. Currently 1.5 million consumers use net metering, including thousands of public schools, churches 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.

Big utilities want to change the rules in their favor in order to eliminate a growing competitor, keep consumers stuck in utility monopolies, and maintain the need for costly and often dangerous transmission lines that are a key driver of utility profits and ratepayer costs.

Despite the overwhelming popularity of rooftop solar and net metering in California, the CPUC is considering a proposed decision, favored by investor-owned utilities, to implement a monthly solar penalty tax while also slashing credits consumers receive for their excess solar energy.

The CPUC had previously proposed a similar steep tax on rooftop solar and an immediate gutting of the credits of solar consumers. The unpopular proposed decision was shelved for an indefinite amount of time earlier this year after intense backlash and public disapproval from Governor Newsom. The CPUC’s recent ruling to re-open its net energy metering procedures seems again to be pursuing a tax, this time hidden and under a different name.

By contrast, solar supporters want to keep solar growing and affordable for all types of consumers, ensure California remains on track with its clean energy and land conservation goals, and accelerate the growth of solar plus storage to build a more resilient electric grid.