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Environment & Science

SCE and solar industry debate proposal that critics say could devastate solar adoption




SolarCraft workers Joel Overly (L) and Craig Powell (R) install a solar panel on the roof of a home on February 26, 2015 in San Rafael, California.
SolarCraft workers Joel Overly (L) and Craig Powell (R) install a solar panel on the roof of a home on February 26, 2015 in San Rafael, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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The California Public Utilities Commission has started to hear proposals from several electric companies in California that critics say, if approved, will have a devastating impact on the solar industry and the environment.

Currently, homeowners who installed solar panels on their rooftops get money for the extra electricity they generate. Separate proposals forwarded by Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. in San Francisco would cut the reimbursement rates and charge them an additional fee. These utility companies say that solar users need to shoulder some of the costs of grid maintenance, and their proposals ensure that those costs won’t be passed on to non-solar customers.

But critics, mainly those from the solar industry, say that these proposals would cancel out all the financial incentives of going solar, and stop more people from using this alternative energy.

Guests:

Gary Stern, director for energy policy at Southern California Edison

Bernadette Del Chiaro, Executive Director of California Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade association