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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Renova Energy official: "Utilities have been misleading consumers"

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A final decision regarding the California Public Utility Commission's (CPUC) net energy metering 3.0 policy is expected to be made this month.

The CPUC published a proposed decision for the new NEM 3.0 policy in December 2021. Some of the notable suggested changes in the initial proposal include forcing solar customers to utilize "time of use tariffs" currently used by customers with electric vehicles or batteries, as well as reducing grandfather terms for existing customers from 50 years to 5 to 10 years, and cutting solar credit value by up to 75%.

In February, the State of California decided to delay making a final decision on NEM 3.0 until an unspecified date, although a final decision is expected in August, according to a press release. If the proposed changes are approved, new solar customers will have less benefits than pre-existing ones. For instance if a grid participation charge of $8/kilowatt a month is established, new customers to power companies Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric Company could expect to pay $100 per month for grid access.

Renova Energy policy and public relations manager Emily Langenbahn believes customers aren't being told the full truth regarding the potential new policy, saying that "utilities have been misleading consumers."

"The only tax credit is the Federal ITC. It's a break for solar customers on their federal income taxes, and right now it sits at 26%," Langenbahn said in an interview with the Coachella Valley Times. "The utility is not impacted by this incentive in any way. What the utilities want to go after is the rate of compensation, because that's where they lose the most money, when a solar owner provides energy to the grid, the utility is required to pay for it."

Langenbahn also believes the delay on the final decision on NEM 3.0 might be politically motivated.

"The only ones in support of NEM 3.0 are the utilities and those who work for them," she said. "I suspect the CPUC will wait until December 2022 to release the next draft because I believe Gov. [Gavin] Newsom is concerned about its impact on his re-election. If the CPUC releases it after November, his position is more secure because with the decision, he will either upset the utilities or the solar industry and ratepayers."

Founded in 2006, Renova Energy is Coachella Valley's leading solar installation company, earning awards for its service and efficiency in the region. The company, with more than 300 employees, specializes in installing solar systems and batteries that are built to withstand desert environments and produce maximum saving.

Its employees installed more than 11,500 kilowatts of solar power in 2021. Since its founding, Renova Energy has installed 70 megawatts of rooftop solar for residential and commercial buildings.

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