Tribal Communities Join the Fight for Solar Progress in California

We continue to be inspired by the many different voices who are speaking up in support of a brighter, stronger solar-powered California. Yesterday, Native American tribes from across the state joined the growing chorus urging the state regulators to oppose the big utilities’ attempts to keep customers from plugging into the sun.

Mount Diablo

The Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority, which represents tribes in Mendocino and Butte counties on housing issues, submitted a letter to Commission President Picker to request that the CPUC preserve a strong solar net metering program after the current program sunsets. The letter was signed by seven additional tribes including the Bishop Paiute Tribe, the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians, the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, the Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria, the Yurok Indian Housing Authority, and the Redwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians.

As the letter noted, net metered solar systems “save low-income tribal families money each month on their utility costs, and have helped our tribe work toward its environmental and clean energy goals, and increased residents’ pride in our reservation…. our tribal members would not be able to benefit as much from solar without the net energy metering structure.”  Solar is bringing new power to these communities – and many others throughout California – in more ways than one.

But the state’s three big utilities are pressing the PUC to levy unfair new fees and adopt lower bill credit rates that don’t adequately compensate customers for the valuable solar power they deliver to the grid. This would stall customer solar adoption in its tracks – putting local solar jobs, community health and climate progress at risk along with it.

Californians want a cleaner energy system that puts people, not polluters, in control. That’s why diverse stakeholders – including social justice organizations, the faith community, local government officials, and educators – are all joining together to urge the PUC to stand strong for net metering and keep expanding solar access in our state. California solar supporters, sign the petition and join the fight to keep California going solar!

Photo Credit: GRID Alternatives. The Pepetones of the Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria received a solar electric system through GRID Alternatives, statewide program manager for the SASH program.

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