California Regulators Protect Rooftop Solar From Utilities

Solar panels on a San Francisco high school | Photo: Matt Montagne/Flickr/Creative Commons License

The state agency charged with regulating public utilities Thursday announced that Californians who sell extra power from their rooftop solar arrays to the state's utilities can keep doing so at current rates for 20 years.

On Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) made its decision on the maximum length of existing contracts for rooftop solar owners who have so-called "Net Energy Metering" agreements with the state's utilities, under which those customers feed electricity from their rooftop solar arrays into the grid, running their electric meters back to zero.

The decision establishes a "transition period" after which new, longer-term rooftop solar policies yet to be enacted by the state will go into effect, starting in July 2017. The CPUC's decision to establish a 20-year transition period rather than a much shorter one urged by utilities is being hailed as a victory for rooftop solar.

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