The Solar Bill of Rights: Ban anti-solar fees!

The Solar Bill of Rights: Ban anti-solar fees!

“To my State Senator and Assemblymember:

Please support the Solar Bill of Rights (SB 953). The bill bans utilities from penalizing solar users with discriminatory fees.

Discriminatory solar fees discourage people from choosing solar and battery storage, cutting their energy bills, reducing their burden on the grid, protecting themselves from power outages and cleaning up the environment.

These fees double-dip solar users who are already paying the same fixed monthly fees that other ratepayers pay. 

We would never let utilities charge fees for installing LED lightbulbs or energy efficient appliances. In turn, we should make sure utilities can’t charge fees just for choosing solar and battery storage.”

The Solar Bill of Rights (SB 953) will ban fees that discriminate against solar users

Senate Bill 953 is a bipartisan proposal currently being debated in the California State Legislature that would prevent utilities from charging solar users discriminatory fees. Read the bill
Printable fact sheet on SB 953
Printable fact sheet rebutting common utility arguments against solar and against SB 953

California utilities are attacking solar with discriminatory fees

Last Spring, the utility serving the Sacramento area (SMUD), tried to hit its solar users with a discriminatory fee as high as $60 per month for a residential user, and hundreds of dollars a month for a commercial or agricultural solar users. It would have ruined people’s solar investments and destroyed Sacramento’s solar market. SMUD canceled their plan, but only after a massive community backlash. More reading about SMUD.

Merced residents were not so lucky; their utility now charges $60/month to anyone who installs solar. Across the state, from San Diego to Redding, we are seeing utilities attempt to slap solar users with fees. 

 These proposals will keep coming unless we make them illegal. 

Solar users are helping the community save money. Utilities should not be allowed to punish them.

Utilities often justify discriminatory solar fees by falsely claiming that solar users don’t pay their fair share of the grid.

It’s bunk; solar users already pay the same monthly utility fees that all ratepayers pay.

Moreover, solar users actually save ratepayers money by decreasing the cost of running the grid. One reason why: your local extra solar doesn’t require expensive and dangerous long-distance transmission lines. In 2018 alone, thanks to solar and more energy efficiency, the state saved $2.6 billion by canceling or scaling back over twenty transmission projects.

The utilities are mad because we’re not buying their electricity. But instead of seeing that as a problem, utilities should reward solar users for lightening the burden on the grid. 

Bottom line: charging solar users because they buy less electricity from the utility is the same as charging a fee on people who reduce their energy use through more efficient lighting or windows. That makes no sense, and neither do discriminatory solar fees.

More reading: Eight ways your solar benefits everyone

Printable fact sheet rebutting common utility arguments against solar and against SB 953

Other reasons to ban discriminatory solar fees

Anti-solar fees make it harder to avoid power outages

The best and cleanest way to avoid power outages is to have solar and a battery. This lets you store your extra solar power at your home, so you can use it at night or when the power goes out. 

The price of batteries is falling fast, and more and more people are choosing it. But discriminatory solar fees will discourage people from getting solar and batteries. The result: more people will be affected by outages.

Anti-solar fees are bad for the environment

California is trying to get 100% of its energy from non-polluting sources by 2045. We won’t get there if the utilities are allowed to discourage people from choosing rooftop solar and battery storage with anti-solar fees. 

You have a right to choose solar without retaliation.​

Bottom line, you have a right to make and store energy from the sun on your property without unreasonable interference by the utility.

Tell your state legislators: Stop the attack on solar. Pass the Solar Bill of Rights

“To my State Senator and Assemblymember:

Please support the Solar Bill of Rights (SB 953). The bill bans utilities from penalizing solar users with discriminatory fees.

Discriminatory solar fees discourage people from choosing solar and battery storage, cutting their energy bills, reducing their burden on the grid, protecting themselves from power outages and cleaning up the environment.

These fees double-dip solar users who are already paying the same fixed monthly fees that other ratepayers pay. 

We would never let utilities charge fees for installing LED lightbulbs or energy efficient appliances. In turn, we should make sure utilities can’t charge fees just for choosing solar and battery storage.”

Contact Dave Rosenfeld at info@solarrights [dot] org to learn more. Thank you for getting involved!