The California solar industry and its customers are no strangers to the nefarious neglect and profit-driven tactics of the public utility companies. Nevertheless, California solar is now being targeted by a completely out of step and backward looking bill (AB 1139) which seeks to un-grandfather existing energy rate plans, slash utility bill credits and impose punitive monthly fees upon all grid-tied solar adopters. By removing incentives and retroactively restructuring Net Energy Metering (NEM), AB 1139 would kill rooftop solar in California. In response to this egregious bill authored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, the Solar Rights Alliance and CALSSA called for a protest at the Capitol in Sacramento on May 19.
The call was enthusiastically answered. From about 10:30 am to 11:45 am, a wide range of citizens, community leaders and solar advocates addressed a crowd of 150 masked and socially distanced supporters from the Capitol steps next to a giant inflatable ‘utility’ man. They were supported by a motorcade of 175 solar-branded vehicles from across California that defiantly circled Capitol Park with horns blaring.
AB 1139 and its recent amendments look more like an edict issued by a dying totalitarian regime desperate to crush all opposition rather than any legislation intended for democratically and scientifically minded tax payers. It begs belief that after persevering for decades, suffering unprecedented wildfires and power shut-offs, and enduring the pandemic, good faith citizens may never see a return on their solar investment and instead the energy they produce would be routed to the utilities to enrich their shareholders. AB 1139 would also restrict the solar self-generation and battery storage market to the wealthy at the expense of everyone, not just the renters, homeowners and business owners who have been helping to build a safe, clean, resilient and sustainable power grid.
The Assembly Appropriations committee passed AB 1139 on May 20 and a vote by the legislature could come as early as May 24. Urge your local Assemblymember to oppose this draconian bill by using this simple contact form now! Stand with your neighbors and your local solar provider to “stop this utility profit grab!”
Seamas Brennan is Marketing Coordinator for Sun Light & Power
Solar motorcade against AB 1139
A small portion of the 175 solar company vehicles that circled the Capitol on May 19, 2021 in protest against AB 1139.