If solar roof subsidies aren’t fair, what about Proposition 13? – San Bernardino Sun

Apparently, California discovered an unfairness in one of its luxury housing policies.

No, not Prop 13’s erroneous tax relief.

A variety of curious allies have pushed state regulators to “fix” what has been filmed as overly generous benefits granted to those who have invested in home solar. California Public Utilities Commission in mid-December propose a discount Homeowners with rooftop solar and storage systems will receive an electric bill when they sell their energy back to the utility company.

Let me say first: I am completely conflicted on this topic as I have been a solar panel owner for two decades.

The plan calls for an 80% cut for new and veteran solar owners in the amount credited for energy sent back to the utility.

Now, no two owners’ solar setups or utilities serving them are the same, so it’s difficult to gauge how much higher our bill could be. When I populate my trusty spreadsheet with cost estimates from SaveCaliforniaSolar alliance supports subsidies, the average monthly bill for a typical solar panel owner skyrockets to $204 from $75 a month, if the plan is approved.

So why are some solar generation subsidies essentially dying as soon as January 27?

Obviously, we need to “retire” these incentives because they’ve worked so well, the proposal says. Initiated 25 years ago to kick-start California’s solar initiatives, the state’s seemingly far-fetched “million roofs” goal has been topped with at least 200,000 installations.

FILE – This photo taken on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, shows solar panels on the rooftops of a housing development in Folsom, California. State regulators at the California Public Utilities Commission are expected to propose reforms to reduce financial incentives for homeowners who install solar panels. (AP Photo / Rich Pedroncelli, File)

This logic, if any, further suggests that homeowners with rooftop solar panels do not have to pay their fair share of maintenance costs to the grid that serves everyone.

If the CPUC goes ahead, any prospective homeowner using solar energy or any home with 15 years of solar power or more will see the monthly fee increased just to be connected to the grid. electricity.

Plus, CPUC said, the excess electricity that homeowners generate and sell to their utility is far more than what the utility pays in the energy market.

Encourage activity

All of this begs the question: Who is dreaming about these anti-green energy claims that state regulators are buying amid the many challenges of electricity supply and concerns about climate change? Queen?

It’s no surprise that the state’s electric utilities – Edison, PG&E, and SDG&E – are so desperate to lose a state-mandated competitor, you, the solar panel owner. . This subsidy cut proposal is also receiving help from people affiliated with fossil fuel businesses and “free market” advocates.

And then there are some who argue that the system harms low-income Californians. By the way, the new regulations will protect some low-income households from some of the financial burden caused by cut subsidies.

Boxes of petitions against proposed reforms that solar advocates claim will be detrimental to the rooftop solar market are on display before they reach the office. governor’s office during a rally at the Capitol in Sacramento, California, Wednesday, December 8, 2021. State regulators at the California Public Utilities Commission are expected to propose reforms to reduce financial incentives for homeowners to install solar panels. (AP Photo / Rich Pedroncelli)

To be fair, that logic has some truth to it. Incentives work, and the people who tend to benefit from the solar subsidy are better-paid Californians.

Why is there a demographic disparity? Because these systems are not cheap and homeowners tend to be more affluent.

You see, your neighbor (and me) only got an electricity deal after spending substantial money to have a mini power plant built on our roof.

These systems — which have grown more robust and cheaper over the years — still cost nearly $16,000 after the one-time federal tax incentives are collected, according to SaveCaliforniaSolar, according to SaveCaliforniaSolar. And the solar investments of 1.2 million property owners, to date, produce about 7% of California’s electricity.

However, this push to get solar home owners “paying their fair share” fails to realize the overall cost of the panels, inverters, and installations required to collect them. collect and distribute electricity from the roof.

And why choose only on solar rooftops? Should any energy-smart homeowner face higher rates just to balance the electric bill for the average consumer or an energy-hungry neighbor?

The transfer of solar subsidies will create a new state policy that eliminates the subsidy system for neighboring countries. So, what about the huge injustice to Prop 13’s wealth tax unfairness?

Why should tax rates be based on when you bought the property and not the current market value of a home?

Yes, the incentives work: Proposition 13’s “subsidy” to longtime owners helps generate the state’s low relocation rate.

The California Public Utilities Commission in mid-December proposed reducing discounts for homeowners with rooftop solar and storage systems when they resell energy to utility companies. (AP Photo / Damian Dovarganes)

Bottom lines

SaveCaliforniaSolar says homeowners who own solar panels have been delighted to see their rooftop investment recoup at the expense of energy savings – but breakeven usually takes around six years.

If the CPUC approves the amount for an increase, the break-even point will increase to 14 years. Financially, that would make solar rooftops a bad choice for homeowners.

The new rules could also undermine another push for solar power. As of 2020, Home builders must include green energy systems on most new homes in California. The shrinking profitability of such installations created by the CPUC plan could give developers an excuse to opt out.

Just look at Nevada. When state regulators eliminated all subsidies in 2015 required by utility agencies, solar installations immediately halved. Two years later, the legislature intervened and restored the incentives. Install Growth is then restarted.

If California stops or is slow to create new solar panel systems, state utilities will have to find other ways to meet growing electricity needs while addressing high clean energy thresholds. than. Can they do it better or cheaper than rooftops – and not cover square miles of desert land with placards?

And whatever the alternative of power, do you want to bet who will pay for it in the end?

With the global climate situation a growing threat, phasing out solar subsidies would make the state’s breakthrough goal of all-green electricity by 2045 an elusive dream. and more expensive.

Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for Southern California News Group. He can be contacted at jlansner@scng.com

https://www.sbsun.com/2022/01/07/if-solar-roof-subsidies-are-unfair-what-about-prop-13/ If solar roof subsidies aren’t fair, what about Proposition 13? – San Bernardino Sun

Curtis Crabtree

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