CPUC Modernizes Multi-Tenant and Multi-Property Solar and Storage Tariffs and Strengthens Solar Consumer Protections
Today the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) updated its onsite solar and storage tariffs for multifamily residential buildings, multi-tenant commercial buildings, and customers with adjacent properties, continuing its efforts to modernize solar regulations to bolster the modern grid and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These changes only apply to future customers. The decision adopted today also strengthens consumer protections for rooftop solar customers, clarifies rules for fuel cell systems to comply with GHG emissions standards per statutory requirements, and implements a new law that mandates fair wage requirements for construction workers on certain solar and storage projects.
Today’s decision builds upon the net billing tariff adopted in December 2022 for single-family homes by creating a similar incentive framework for multi-tenant and multi-property customers interested in installing solar or solar paired with battery storage on their properties. The new tariffs contain improved prices signals that encourage customers to adopt battery storage and export solar energy in the evening hours when the grid is most stressed and California needs to displace energy from fossil fuel power plants. The new tariffs only apply to future customers, and there is a 90-day grace period for prospective customers to enroll in existing tariffs before the new tariffs go into effect.
The new tariff provides a similar opportunity for renters in multifamily buildings to benefit financially from onsite solar and storage as single-family homeowners by mirroring the same incentive structure in the net billing tariff adopted in December 2022. The tariffs also include a glidepath for the industry by providing fixed extra bill credits to customers that last for nine years. These bill credits are available for new customers that enroll in the tariff over the next five years, and the size of the bill credit for prospective customers steps down each year.
Today’s decision also addresses several other issues, including:
- Fuel Cell Rule Implementation: To comply with the Assembly Bill (AB) 1637, which requires fuel cells to adhere to the California Resources Air Board’s GHG emissions standards, the decision implements fuel cell reporting requirements and verification and penalties.
- Enhanced Protections for Solar Customers: The decision improves the CPUC’s Public Watch List of Non-Compliant Solar Providers and requires utilities to conduct audits to identify developers that are not complying with consumer protection requirements.
- Prevailing Wages for Solar Workers: To comply with AB 2143, the decision requires proof of payment of prevailing wages for certain types of larger solar installations.
- Evaluation of Net Billing Tariff: The decision authorizes a future study on the impacts of revised solar tariffs on equity, GHG emissions, electrification, installation trends, and consumer protections.
In 2020, the CPUC launched a proceeding to review existing net energy metering tariffs and establish successor tariffs, pursuant to AB 327 (Perea). This decision concludes the review of the net energy metering tariffs and marks the closure of this proceeding.
The proposal voted on is available here.
For more information, please see our fact sheet.
Documents related to the proceeding are available here.
About the California Public Utilities Commission
The CPUC regulates services and utilities, protects consumers, safeguards the environment, and assures Californians access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services. Visit www.cpuc.ca.gov for more information.