Rising costs complicate California’s rooftop solar, onsite battery future

Garrett Hering

California’s bold ambition to fully decarbonize what is effectively the world’s fifth-largest economy before the middle of the century has become a defining mission for the state.

But concerns are spreading over how to keep California’s clean energy transition on track amid skyrocketing electricity rates, as reflected in the heated debate over reforming the state’s decades-old rooftop solar program, known as net energy metering. This is part of a broader discussion over the future of distributed energy in the semi-deregulated market.

“It’s our position that California … has done a lot right and has led the way in a whole bunch of areas and is a world leader, but we are really at a crossroads right now,” Matt Baker, director of the California Public Utilities Commission’s Public Advocates Office, said at a recent solar industry convention in Anaheim, Calif. “And unfortunately … [the policy] is not helping us now. We have outgrown it.”


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