More than a thousand Californians took to the streets for solar, and it was awesome.
More than 300 rooftop solar supporters rallied in downtown Los Angeles yesterday, the third protest this month against anti-solar proposals from the California’s major utilities. The rallies have seen thousands of Californians speak out against the utility proposals that would drive up the cost of going solar, thereby putting local jobs, public health benefits and climate progress at risk.
The L.A. rally gave us all a special reminder of what it is we’re fighting for. More than 100 students from nearby Betty Plasencia Elementary School turned out and delivered their own messages of solar support. It’s their future and ours that’s at stake as regulators consider the path forward for California solar. The students joined five-time Grammy Award winner Malik Yusef, Grammy-nominated recording artist and actress Antonique Smith, Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Koretz, Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. President of the Hip-Hop Caucus in calling for SCE to stop attacking rooftop solar and start acting in the public interest.
The L.A. rally followed others held at utility headquarters in San Francisco and San Diego to protest similar anti-solar proposals from PG&E and SDG&E.
“PG&E is not looking to protect the environment or my future. Rather, it’s looking to protect itself,” said Ana Singh, a high school junior and an Action Fellow with the Alliance for Climate Education who spoke at the San Francisco rally. “The fact is that PG&E makes money off of new power plants and other utility infrastructure. When people choose to go solar, PG&E loses that money. This company is putting its profits over the interests of its clients and the environment, and it’s our responsibility to stand up against that.”
At the SDG&E rally Mike Hale, a sales representative for SolarCity said, “I believe people in San Diego should be able to have a choice to have clean energy, without being penalized or taxed by a large corporation that has had a monopoly since electricity was made available on the West Coast.”
It has been truly inspiring to see the strength and diversity of the Californians who are speaking up and turning out for solar progress. More than 50 local government officials, 16 organizations representing social justice issues and communities of color as well as numerous state education and teachers’ associations, farmers and agricultural businesses, faith leaders, and Native American tribal communities have formally urged the CPUC to uphold the net metering program and continue to expand solar access. And tens of thousands of Californians have joined the call to action by signing the petition.