CHICO—Over 50 local solar supporters turned out to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) meeting in Chico on Thursday, urging commissioners to keep rooftop solar growing and affordable.

Solar is currently growing fastest in working and middle class neighborhoods and helping to advance California’s race to clean energy. That progress is threatened by utility-backed efforts in the California Public Utilities Commission to reduce competition by making solar unaffordable for most consumers through changes to a popular state policy called “net energy metering.” Net energy metering makes rooftop solar more affordable for consumers of all types by crediting them for the excess energy they produce and share with their neighbors.

Here are some highlighted news clips from the November 3 hearing:

You can view the entire database of news clips from the hearing here.

CPUC Net Energy Metering Proceeding Background:

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is considering changes to net energy metering, the state policy that makes rooftop solar more affordable for consumers of all types by crediting 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.

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 the recent heat wave.

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.”

Despite the overwhelming popularity of rooftop solar and net metering in California, the CPUC’s proposed decision released last December would have implemented a monthly solar penalty tax while also slashing credits consumers receive for their excess solar energy.

The unpopular proposed decision was shelved earlier this year after intense backlash and public disapproval from Governor Newsom. A new proposal from the CPUC could come as soon as mid-November.

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 CPUC to keep solar growing and affordable for all types of consumers.