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Sunny San Diego fights new utility charges on rooftop solar

The city of San Diego said changes to rooftop solar tariffs proposed by California utilities would hamper the renewable energy market and interfere with local plans to address climate change.

The city, in filings Tuesday with state utility regulators, took issue with a request from San Diego Gas & Electric to add a monthly “grid connection” fee for solar customers as well as special charges based on peak periodic energy use, regardless of overall monthly electricity consumption.

California utility regulators are reconsidering the current “net metering” tariff that provides bill credits for solar energy at the full retail electricity rate. SDG&E says grid-connected solar customers are avoiding their fair share of costs for infrastructure and utility programs, forcing it to increase bills for nonsolar customers.

Attorneys for the city acknowledged the need for all customers to support the grid that serves them, but said the new charges by SDG&E “would be discouraging to sustained growth” of solar. The city stressed its own plans to offset more city government energy demands with solar, as well as an interest in keeping open cost-effective options for residents and businesses in San Diego.

Read the rest of the story at the San Diego Tribune