Green Chalice: Stewardship of our Rescources 2

Stewardship of the earth comes in many forms. There is recycling materials we use. How do we keep our water clean and the air fresh? How do we use fewer resources to heat and cool our homes? How do we best manage what God has given to us? But like so many things, it comes down to economics. A hundred years ago, John Muir lead the environmental movement. In the 1970’s Jerry Brown set California to lead the way for energy efficiency, and created much of the structure to reduce our per capita energy usage. We are 47th out of 50 states. But the backbone of how we got here is under threat by AB1139 right now. It attacks the fundamentals of how Solar Electricity (PV) is financed and ultimately who owns it. This bill attacks leasing, Net Metering and ownership of solar electric systems. Leasing allows private money to be used to install PV on low income homes, non-profits, businesses, or locations which simply don’t have the resources to outright purchase a solar PV system, requiring nothing more from the property owners except the use of their roof. There is a bonus to the property owner of a discount on their utility bill.

A concise definition of Net Metering is when Solar electricity is created during the day and not used on location, that power is banked in the utility grid and used someplace else in California, with the PV producer receiving a credit (spinning the electric meter backwards).  A PV installer-owner last week said that the changes to Net Metering (added fees and shorter contracts requiring the utility company to accept net metered electricity), would change the payback period from 6-7 years to 12-14 years. The money represented by the increased payback period would be shifted from PV producers to the Electric Utility Companies.  

The third main proposal in AB1139 is converting all PV private investments on private property to public works. Should this law pass, the Solar Electric Industry would be decimated resulting in job loss of up to 65,000 people, while the Electric Utilities would make the profits.

So, in an effort to decarbonize, save jobs, reduce our carbon footprint, please take a moment to educate yourself on AB1139.

This is part of the hard work of managing our earth.  God willing: Empowering those who help, and stopping those who will diminish.