Comments demonstrate strong support for local control of solar policies

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Solar customers, state regulators across the country ask FERC to maintain states rights

Washington, DC — Solar United Neighbors and Vote Solar submitted over 20,000 public comments in support of states rights to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today, marking the close of the public comment period in Docket EL20-42. The New England Ratepayers Association, a secretive group with strong ties to monopoly utilities, has asked FERC to take away states’ ability to administer net metering. Net metering ensures solar owners receive fair credit for the solar energy they produce, but do not use themselves.

“Solar energy empowers homeowners to take control of where their electricity comes from,” said Anya Schoolman, Solar United Neighbors Executive Director. “This is why there is broad support to keep net metering as it is. This will help families and businesses across the country save money and create jobs.”

The individual commenters are from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. They were joined by Public Utilities Commissions, Governors, state Attorney Generals and other public officials who overwhelmingly opposed the petition. Solar United Neighbors and Vote Solar submitted nearly 9,000 comments from solar owners, more than 2,000 from workers and 331 from solar business owners.

“I am a low-income homeowner who used a portion of my retirement money to install solar panels on my home in an effort to do my part to mitigate the disastrous effects of climate change…. To lose net-metering, would be financially devastating to me.  And solar owners are not the only ones saving with local solar,” wrote Robin Migalla, Elgin, IL.

“I am a rural home owner, engineer, and farmer in the Florida Panhandle where I have installed a significant solar system (21 Kw) to provide primary power to my home and farm.  I did this due to having numerous, sporadic power outages over the years from hurricanes and bad weather.  It also gives me the opportunity to contribute to the community my excess generated power… This power system is a significant portion of my retirement strategy, and if it is removed from my control, my potential retirement will suffer immeasurably,” wrote Frank Borsi, Baker, FL.

There are approximately 2.2 million residential net metering customers and 100,000 net metering businesses across the country. Together, they have invested billions of dollars solar, with the expectation of recovering those costs through net-metering. In addition to the return-on-investment of solar owners, all grid participants are at risk of higher electricity bills if the program disappears. Without continued investment in local solar there will be fewer local clean energy jobs, increased reliability issues and grid maintenance costs and a less resilient system that is more vulnerable to extreme weather events.

“It’s always a bad idea to try to strip hardworking families and small businesses of electricity bill savings from clean energy investments. Even more so during a pandemic and economic crisis,” said Adam Browning, Executive Director of Vote Solar. “Bad policy, bad precedent, bad for America. It lacks the legal merit to move forward and FERC should dismiss this case immediately.”

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