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Run on Sun Monthly Newsletter

Run on Sun - the source for Pasadena Solar Power

In this Issue:

November, 2021

Volume: 12 Issue: 11

Campaign to Save Rooftop Solar - Update!

We have been writing for sometime now about the battle to save rooftop solar going on before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) - see, e.g., this piece from last month explaining how to take action. The investor-owned utilities (IOUs - i.e., SCE, PG&E, and SDG&E) are lobbying the CPUC to gut the value of net metering - the means by which most of the economic benefit of going solar is realized by residential, commercial, and non-profit solar system owners.

Our goal was to prove to the Governor, and by extension the CPUC, that the public stands for rooftop solar and against the draconian proposals being advanced by the IOUs. Our colleagues at the California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA) are spearheading the campaign to fight back, and a key component was to get as many members of the public to sign on to our petition to Governor Newsom.

The goal set was to get 100,000 signatures before the end of November. Well we smashed right through that target and have just under 110,000 signatures as of this writing - of which some 400 or so came from this Newsletter and our related blog! That's a lot of people for a grassroots campaign, and we are really thrilled by all of those people taking the time out of their busy lives to lend their name and voice to this fight!

Thanks to all of you, on December 8th, we will hold a rally on the North Lawn of the State Capitol to form a "human billboard" spelling out a message to Newsom, demonstrating the depth of public support for rooftop solar. After that, we will carry boxes filled with those public comments to Newsom's office in the State Capitol!

Will this be a powerful demonstration of the public's desire to preserve rooftop solar? Yes!

Will this demonstration generate press coverage highlighting the fight to even more people who can support our cause? Hell yes!

Will this alone carry the day? Almost certainly not - but it's a great start!

Later in December the CPUC will issue their proposed ruling, and that's when this work will really turn intense (as if gathering 100,000 supporters in a month wasn't intense!) We will be coming back to all of you with more asks in response to the proposed rule making. By then we will have the clearest picture yet of what we are facing, and we will need you to be heard once again.

But that is for another day. Today, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to thank all of you who took the time to make a difference. Together we will prevail - the people, you! - would want it that way!

Watch this space!


“Together we will prevail - the people, you! - would want it that way!”

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Catching a Break?

It is something of a sad commentary on the present state of the solar industry in California that I'm spending twice as much time writing about rear-guard policy fights as I am talking about super cool technology developments - like the Enphase IQ8! (Which, with Sunlight Backup, is truly super cool!) But we take the times as we receive them - surely Covid-19 has taught us that (and more on that below) - and these times require constant vigilance as the forces against us are fighting desperately to hamstring this industry anyway they can.

Case in point - at the urging of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) - the agency that governs all licensed contractors in the state - issued an unlawful order that would have greatly constrained who could work on solar plus storage systems. Now mind you, there was no evidence brought forward to suggest that the current license holders who were doing this work had created any actual problems, and yet this was still advanced as being about public safety.

Now why would the IBEW be in favor of restricting who can do solar plus storage projects? Simple - IBEW members work on large scale solar projects, utility-scale solar projects, to be precise, and those are built to help the IOUs meet their "clean energy" targets. If rooftop solar plus storage projects take off, there might be less work for IBEW members. Of course, the IBEW here is nothing but a stalking horse for the IOUs, who know they must crush the rooftop solar market by any means possible, whether before the CPUC (see above) or the CSLB. Either way, this is another front in the war to preserve rooftop solar - plus storage!

So a quick update is important. Thanks to the hard work of CALSSA, and the fine work of our lawyers at the firm Shute, Mihaly, & Weinberger, the CSLB has sided with CALSSA over the IBEW! This outcome - preliminary as it may be - is a result of a lawsuit on CALSSA's behalf seeking to find the earlier rulemaking illegal. The CSLB realized they were on the losing end and have been negotiating ever since.

There is more work to be done - but given the scope of challenges that face us, it is important to recognize the victories, large and small, when they occur.

Bottom line: CALSSA, its member companies (of which Run on Sun is a proud party), and allies are fighting every day to make the rooftop solar industry viable for all stakeholders: companies, workers, and clients. We are committed to this fight because we believe - passionately - about the importance of this industry!

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Point of Personal Privilege

This past week was Thanksgiving, and for me, it was a chance to connect with my non-California-based family for the first time in two years. While in years past I would cook a feast for as many as 15 people, last year was so subdued. And all those visits from relatives far away, just didn't happen.

This year I decided it was time to fly.

So I got on a plane and flew to North Carolina to spend the holiday with my beloved sister, Stephanie, and her long time partner, Carl. We had a grand time - cooking together, meeting with friends old and new (at least for me), drinking wine and talking about all the world's troubles. You know, the things that families and friends used to do before a pandemic up-ended our lives and our routines.

I don't know what is next. My industry is under assault, and yet another virus variant is now on the loose. Yet I feel optimistic - perhaps just the residue of spending time with loved ones - but I really think we are turning a corner. To be sure, we need some wins: at the CPUC, and the CSLB, and at the Senate - but I think a few months from now the world may look way brighter than it does today.

So in the meantime, and in the spirit of the season, I will leave you with this image. It is nothing remarkable, just a picture of loved ones and their Thanksgiving table. It was a simple moment... that meant so much.

Thanksgiving 2021

I wish you a safe, and joyous, holiday season!

“It was a simple moment... that meant so much…”