A cloud has come over California’s power sector in light of how numerous solar power firms have shut down in the more than seven months that have passed since the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) chose to drastically reduce the value of solar-generated energy shared into the state grid.
Since CPUC chose to drastically reduce Net Energy Metering in the state by up to 80%, around 17,000 individuals working in the solar generation and power storage sectors have either lost their jobs or may lose their jobs by the end of the year. This represents up to 22% of all solar-related careers within the state, and experts point out that the layoffs will affect practically every city and municipality in California.
Net Energy Metering is a program meant to reduce the cost of shifting from conventional power sources to renewables like solar and wind. Here, system owners are compensated for energy production through their own panel setups or wind farms. However, it should be noted that affected system operators are still waiting on the incentives promised to them by state governor Gavin Newsom and CPUC to make up for their losses.
A Grim State of Things
According to Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director for the California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA,) CPUC’s lightning strike has deprived many people of their livelihood and drastically affected their families’ way of life. Indeed, in California’s Central Valley alone, up to 3,167 jobs have been lost over the past several months due to the CPUC cuts.
Del Chiaro added that it is ironic that CPUC chose to do this at a time when the federal government has thrown its support behind the shift to solar and other renewable power sources. Indeed, she deplored how a state known for its strong environmental stance opted to curtail its shift to green power and a more environmentally sound future.