- In California, solar companies and advocates are opposing utility plans to slash electric rates, arguing that it “could have a disruptive impact on the solar market,” according to a filing with the California Public Utilities Commission.
- Proposals by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE) to lower rates on residential customers who use high amounts of electricity would also hurt energy efficiency efforts, the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Vote Solar Initiative said.
- In November, the utilities proposed increasing rates on low income and low use customers while decreasing rates on high use customers, as allowed under a new law. Some of PG&E's higher use customers would see rates fall by 42% and some of SCE's higher use customers would have a 24% drop in rates, according to the filing.
“Electric utility rate designs can have a substantial impact on the economic incentives for customers to install solar [photovoltaic] systems,” the solar advocates told the PUC. So do the rates themselves. Third-party solar developers compete against the price of electricity offered by an incumbent utility. California's high rates for customers who use lots of electricity has helped drive the solar market in the state. A significant drop in rates could hurt the rooftop solar sector, but would make affected ratepayers happy.