Thousands of Californians protest NEM 3.0 in solar jobs rally

Organized by the California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA), protestors loudly proclaimed their opposition to the proposed net metering policy that many experts say may be catastrophic to the solar industry.

Simultaneous to the Intersolar and Energy Storage North America conference in Long Beach, California, thousands of Californians in Los Angeles and San Francisco took to the streets to show their opposition to the proposed net energy metering (NEM) 3.0. The demonstrations were designed to garner the attention of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Governor Gavin Newsom, both of which will play a role in the fate of the proposed decision.

The California Solar and Storage Association organized the event, which drew over 1000 protestors in front of the PUC, and nearly 2000 in Grand Park, Los Angeles.

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) reports the U.S. solar industry employs about 230,000 workers, and SolarReviews estimates that as many as 68,000 jobs are at stake due to the value-slashing nature of the proposed decision.

A recent survey held by SolarReviews found that 95% of active California solar shoppers would decline to go solar if the proposed decision is passed in its current form.

In a webinar held by ROTH Capital Partners, grid and rate design expert Dr. Ahmad Faruqui condemned the proposal, saying that it would expand the payback period for a typical solar system to 20 years or beyond.

The proposal includes a roughly 80% reduction in the payment for excess solar energy sent to the grid, and tacks on an $8 per kW monthly charge for all solar customers, regardless of whether they have battery energy storage or not. A common-sized 8 kW system would be charged $64 a month, a fee that makes solar cost-prohibitive for most customers.

NEM 3.0 is set to be decided on January 27th by the CPUC.

Thousands of Californians protest NEM 3.0 in solar jobs rally