California Net Metering Customers Can Enjoy Current Rules for Another 20 Years


The California Public Utilities Commission votes to set the grandfathering period for net metering at 20 years, ensuring existing solar customers can recoup their investment. Still to be determined is the shape of Net Metering 2.0.


The next two years will be interesting for net metering in California. By December 2015, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is set to determine the shape of Net Metering 2.0.


Before deciding what’s to come, though, the CPUC had to set a grandfathering period for existing net metering customers.


In February, Commissioner Michael Peevey recommended that the grandfathering period be set at 20 years. Last Thursday, the CPUC voted to uphold that recommendation.


The San Francisco Chronicle quoted  Brad Heavner, Policy Director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association, as saying, “With this decision, the Brown Administration is sending a clear message that California will always be a solar friendly place.”


Calling it a “good outcome,” Susannah Churchill of Vote Solar added, “California solar homeowners and businesses can move forward with certainty. What we wanted was to make sure the rules would stay fair for customers who had already made an investment in solar, to the benefit of all of us.”


While some solar advocates had asked for the grandfathering period to extend for the full life of existing systems, utilities had, not surprisingly, pushed for a much shorter period. The 20-year grandfathering period, which applies to anyone who installs solar panels before July 1, 2017, will allow existing solar customers to recoup their investment.


That still leaves a few open questions to be settled in the next two years — the most important being, What will Net Metering 2.0 look like? This first item is a good start. We look forward to more good outcomes for solar.