Letters to the Editor: Edison CEO on why California rooftop solar rules must change
The following letter was written to be published with the editorial in the Nov. 13, 2018 edition of the Bakersfield Californian. We believe the information in this letter is relevant to the issues discussed in the editorial.
I’m writing to ask you to please change your recent editorial in favor of California’s solar industry.
Solar installations generate the equivalent of over 40% of the state’s energy needs (1). This means that any new incentive program to help encourage residential solar installations need to be focused on helping low-income households. If you continue to support policies that are making it more difficult for millions of Americans to go solar, we can expect you to be even less willing to listen when some Californians ask you to consider changes in policies that will help increase the cost of solar panels in California.
The majority of the costs of solar are not incurred until after the solar panels are installed. The average cost of solar in California is now at $7.50/W, which is more than double the cost of standard residential panels. (2) The recent state Senate tax bill that is intended to help homeowners switch from traditional power sources to solar panels has had a significant negative impact on solar growth. With an estimated 22 days of operations per day on average, we will hit our 40% goal of renewable energy by 2020 (3). There will be more time for the Legislature to help solar with incentives if we make sure we are implementing policies that will make it easier for low-income households to go solar.
As I and many others have said, California does have a responsibility to lead on solar in a way that ensures that cost is not an issue that pushes people to go solar. We should be encouraging the growth of rooftop solar because it saves homeowners money and helps the state.
I look forward to seeing the changes that you are advocating come to fruition in your editorial.
Larry Burwell, CEO, SolarCity Corporation
(1) From the U.S. Energy Information Administration, “National Energy Assessment 2017,” at: https://www.eia.gov/forecasts/iea/ncan/pdf/2017/
(2) According to the California Energy Commission 2017, average solar panel cost at this time was