Update: Solar Tax defeated, again!​

We are happy to report that the authors of SB 846 have agreed to clarify in writing that the bill will not impose a Solar Tax on the solar energy you produce and consume at home. 

In other words, you helped defeat the Solar Tax. Again. This is the third time in the last year we have had to fight to stop a fast-moving Solar Tax proposal. In all three cases, your emails and calls made the difference.

Today, the public flooded state lawmakers with thousands and thousands of calls and emails. The message went through loud and clear.

Here are the details:

  • The problem with SB 846 was that it would have taxed all “gross consumption” to pay for keeping the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant open. Section 9.l of the bill.
  • Earlier this year, the CPUC made it clear that they considered “gross consumption” to include both the energy you buy from the utility (fair) AND the energy you produce and consume at home (no way).
  • If the bill had passed without clarification, the CPUC would have implemented it according to their interpretation, and set the stage for the CPUC to impose not just a Diablo Canyon Solar Tax, but a slew of other Solar Taxes that could be as much as $600 / year for an average solar user.

But thanks to you, the bill’s authors and the Governor realized their mistake and have agreed to a set of formal actions clarifying that “gross consumption” in SB 846 only applies to the energy you buy from the utility. Not the solar energy you make and consume at home. The bill itself will not change. But the actions agreed to by the bill’s authors carry enough legal weight to satisfy our concern.

To be crystal clear, we have not defeated the Solar Tax once and for all. We have defeated this one proposal today. We still do not know what the CPUC will reveal in their revised proposal, which we expect on or before September 29th.

I would hope that the CPUC saw the depth and breadth of public opposition today and responds the same way their colleagues in the Legislature did. But we may need to do more organizing in the weeks and months to come to finally protect you and your neighbors from unnecessary and backwards-moving solar taxes. I hope you are up for it, because I think your voice is actually making a difference!

Thank you for your efforts today. This isn’t the end, but every time we speak together in favor of everyone’s right to make solar energy without unreasonable interference, our movement gets stronger.

– Dave Rosenfeld, Executive Director

P.S. You may have noticed that our website crashed a few times today. With more than 16,000 people trying to take action at one time, the flood of grassroots even exceeded our own capacity! Lesson learned, and we have upgraded our capacity to match our growing movement. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

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