Among the alternatives to fossil fuels, solar energy is one of the most popular (especially in California). While there are good things happening with solar, there is still a lot of untapped potential.
California has a California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) that sets policy for Utility Companies. Right now, when someone installs solar on their roof, there are rules about how much the person pays to the local utility or how much they get a credit when they produce electricity that goes back to the grid. These rules are called Net Electricity Metering (NEM). As of 2022, Version 2.0 are the active rules and the CPUC is required to create version 3.0 of these laws. The debate over how to change these laws is detailed and intense. As you might expect, there is a lobby from industry pushing for what benefits them. Citizen and non-profit groups want different regulations that provide more customer oriented benefits which would drive expansion of solar usage. In December 2021, the CPUC decided to push back their vote yet again. If you like to drill down on policy, you can check out two Non-Profit Coalitions with differing opinions on this issue.
Community Choice programs
Local cities are also making the move to Solar and Wind. One way that is happening is by keeping the same electrical power lines, but transitioning to more and more renewables. One example is a non-profit called Clean Power Alliance which has a goal to get to 70% energy from solar. Here is Manhattan Beach, CA’s statement on their transition and the website for Clean Power Alliance.
At the National Level
If we can win 52 or more Democratic Senate seats in November 2022, we can have hopes of passing Build Back Better or other progressive climate bills.
In the meantime, there are some investments being made in solar. In October 2021, The Department of Energy announced a plan to grow solar panels on houses over the next 3 years from 600,000 households to 5 million. This is part of the National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) and a larger administration goal to achieve 100% clean electricity by 2035.
Pomona, CA based CHERP has developed next generation solar panels that can produce more electricity per square inch. Additionally, the non-profit is committed to bringing green energy and green jobs to economically disadvantaged communities.
- Sierra Club
- Vision Alliance
- Solar Rights Alliance https://solarrights.org/
- Sunrise Movement
- Edward Salzberg – SSF https://ssfworld.org
- Edward Salzberg’s Sustainability & Security Forum runs webinars featuring leaders from government, academia and non profit organizations on the Solar Transition as well as providing news updates.