This website uses cookies to analyze site navigation and improve user experience.  We take your privacy seriously, and never collect any personally identifiable information, nor do we ever sell or share anonymized data with any third parties.  Click “Great!” to remove this banner.

All Posts

Category
Select field
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Image of solar advocates protesting at the state capitol

Solar Tax Continues to Threaten California’s Rooftop Solar Progress

After about six months of near silence from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) they have re-opened the proceeding to get input on some new elements of their proposal. The CPUC is now asking for feedback on charging customers based on self consumption, where the less energy that is bought from the utility because of the solar, the higher the fee. The amount of the fee could be anywhere between $300-$600 per year on average. Local, state and federal governments have encouraged rooftop solar, similarly to promoting energy efficiency, which also reduces a household or organization’s energy use, lessening stress on the grid while minimizing CO2 emissions contributing to the climate crisis. A solar tax that punishes residents for using less energy is like taxing people for growing their own food instead of buying it from the grocery store. The proposed solar tax directly contradicts what the Newsom administration has said is one of their top priorities, addressing the rapidly accelerating climate crisis.

After about six months of near silence from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) since their December 2021 proposed decision that would decimate the state’s rooftop solar agreement, net energy metering, they have recently announced that they are re-opening the proceeding to get input on some new elements of the proposal. Here is what we know: 

One of the most criticized elements of the proposed decision was the CPUC’s proposal to impose a fixed monthly charge for all solar customers. Previously, the charge was to be based on the size of the solar system, which would have resulted in $60 per month for an averaged sized residential solar system. The CPUC is now asking for feedback on charging customers based on self consumption - the solar energy customers produce and use at home. The less energy that is bought from the utility because of the solar, the higher the fee. The amount of the fee could be anywhere between $300-$600 per year on average. Local, state and federal governments have encouraged rooftop solar, similarly to promoting energy efficiency, which also reduces a household or organization’s energy use, lessening stress on the grid while minimizing CO2 emissions contributing to the climate crisis. A solar tax that punishes residents for using less energy is like taxing people for growing their own food instead of buying it from the grocery store. The proposed solar tax directly contradicts what the Newsom administration has said is one of their top priorities, addressing the rapidly accelerating climate crisis. 

Rooftop solar advocates, climate justice organizations, elected officials, community choice energy programs, houses of worship, nonprofits and schools have openly criticized the idea of taxing solar customers, which has resulted every single CPUC public voting meeting  being flooded with phone calls of concerned California residents voicing their strong opposition, which have lasted up to seven hours. The distributed solar and storage industry has been very loud in voicing opposition as well, hosting a number of rallies outside of the CPUC headquarters and turning out thousands of solar workers with one request: don’t kill our solar jobs.  

Another upsetting element of the December 2021 proposed decision was the idea to dramatically reduce the amount solar customers are compensated for sharing their excess energy with their neighbors. Unfortunately, a dramatic reduction in export compensation is still on the table, however the question that remains is how quickly those amounts will decrease. The industry has spoken very loudly on this particular issue, stating that a drastic reduction in export compensation would completely halt the growth of solar across the state. 

It is clear that both the CPUC and Governor Gavin Newsom have heard the voices of opposition and felt the pressure to distance themselves from the December proposed decision, with the governor stating in a press conference that “there is more work to be done.” It is clear that the CPUC still has plans to make serious changes to net metering, which will undoubtedly slow solar adoption and lead to more climate injustices. 

Locally, advocates in San Diego have been very vocal in criticizing the CPUC, and this potential new proposal comes in the middle of San Diego Gas & Electric increasing their rates making San Diego the city with the highest price for energy in the country and resulting in one out of four San Diegans unable to pay their electric bills.

The timeline remains unclear, however a revised proposed decision could come out as early as July, with a vote as early as August. To learn more about how you can get involved to help save rooftop solar in California, visit our toolkit!

Read more
Fossil Fuel Free San Diego logo

Fossil Fuel Free Pledge Launches!

Fossil Fuel Free Pledge launches to accelerate climate action and cut off the fossil fuel industry’s influence. The pledge is simple: "We pledge to not take any money from the oil, gas, investor-owned utilities and coal industries, including political action committee contributions, and we pledge to always prioritize the interests of equity, human health, our community, workers and the environment over interests of the fossil fuel industry."

As we enter into Earth Month, we recognize the progress we have made battling fossil fuel companies and the climate crisis, but also understand that there is still much, much more that needs to be done.  With this in mind, the Hammond Climate Solutions team, in partnership with other leading San Diego climate organizations, BikeSD, SanDiego350, San Diego Coastkeeper and Surfrider San Diego, could think of no better time than now to launch our newest campaign, the Fossil Fuel Free Pledge.

“We have seen SDG&E and Sempra use funds to erode bold climate policies and push a fossil fuel agenda, which cannot continue as we fight for a just and livable future,” said Tara Hammond, founder and CEO of Hammond Climate Solutions, a pledgee and co-founder of the Fossil Fuel Free Pledge.  “The Fossil Fuel Free Pledge will give the public, voters, donors and philanthropists a greater sense of security knowing that the nonprofits and elected officials they choose to support do not stand behind greenwashing and won’t be compromised by a fossil fuel agenda that opposes climate action.”

The Fossil Fuel Free Pledge holds organizations and elected officials accountable for where their funding comes from.  By taking the pledge, nonprofits and elected officials vow to not accept funding from fossil fuel companies, illustrating their devotion and commitment to combating climate change. 

The pledge is simple:  "We pledge to not take any money from the oil, gas, investor-owned utilities and coal industries, including political action committee contributions, and we pledge to always prioritize the interests of equity, human health, our community, workers and the environment over interests of the fossil fuel industry." 

The campaign lauches with pledgees BikeSD, SanDiego350, San Diego Coastkeeper, Surfrider San Diego and the Environmental Center of San Diego, along with Carlsbad City Councilmember Dr. Priya Bhat-Patel, the first elected official and candidate to take the pledge.  These pledgees have all committed to a transparent and fossil fuel free future. 

“We want to lead by example and send a message to fossil fuel companies who think they can buy their way into continuing to pollute our environment,” said Lucero Sanchez, community policy coordinator at San Diego Coastkeeper, a pledgee and co-founder of the Fossil Fuel Free Pledge.

Our pledge will create greater transparency for the public.  When an organization or individual takes the pledge, they stand behind divesting from fossil fuels and instead supporting companies that prioritize clean energy, green jobs and communities of concern.  In fact, in early March the San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors made the unanimous decision to divest from fossil fuel companies.  This allows the County to invest its money in companies that do not detrimentally impact the environment and accelerate the climate crisis.

“The fossil fuel industry has used its wealth and political power to mislead the public and stymie climate action and climate justice for over six decades,” said Masada Disenhouse, Executive Director of SanDiego350, a pledgee and co-founder of the Fossil Fuel Free Pledge.  “By signing this pledge, organizations and candidates are putting their money where their mouth is and showing the community that they are part of the solution – not part of the problem.”

With the climate crisis worsening, it is now more urgent than ever to say no to fossil fuels and turn to other sources of renewable energy instead.  If you are an elected official or part of an organization that would like to take the pledge and join the movement for a healthier and more equitable future, please fill out the form linked here.

We look forward to expanding our impact and helping more organizations, elected officials and candidates commit to being fossil fuel free!  To stay up to date on the Fossil Fuel Free Pledge campaign, visit www.fossilfuelfreepledge.org

Read more
Image of environmental advocates at a rally

Taking Inventory of 2021 and Bringing Climate Action into the New Year

As we wrap up 2021, a year that consisted of devastating fires, severe flooding and storms, record high temperatures and climate injustices in real time, we have an opportunity to set our goals and intentions for the year ahead. Although around this time of year, with the inspiration that a new year brings, the weight of adding more goals to the agenda can feel burdensome, especially for climate justice advocates who can experience burn out. Hence, it is critical to not just identify goals for the year ahead, but also, to take inventory of what’s working and what’s not, in order to create space for the noes along with the yeses.

As we wrap up 2021, a year that consisted of devastating fires, severe flooding and storms, record high temperatures and climate injustices in real time, we have an opportunity to set our goals and intentions for the year ahead.  Although around this time of year, with the inspiration that a new year brings, the weight of adding more goals to the agenda can feel burdensome, especially for climate justice advocates who can experience burn out.  Hence, it is critical to not just identify goals for the year ahead, but also, to take inventory of what’s working and what’s not, in order to create space for the noes along with the yeses.


It is evident that while the climate crisis is truly unfolding before our eyes, we have collectively not met the moment as a society.  The celebrated climate targets set forth by jurisdictions oftentimes are unreachable due to lack of resources or political will, and roadmaps that aim to create the just and livable future we desire tend to fall short on delivering the promises made.  As we enter a new year, we hope this is something that can be left behind in 2021.  We also look forward to greenwashing being a thing of the past, as well as policy changes that do not reflect the needs of the planet and our communities, like the recently released proposed decision regarding California’s future rooftop solar policy, net energy metering 3.0.


However, holding policy makers accountable is something we know we will be bringing into the new year.  We have seen the progress that is feasible as a result of collective efforts, and as the urgency to fight the climate crisis increases, so must our willingness to shine light on what’s working and what’s not at a local level.  Keeping in mind the work that lies ahead, let’s not forget that just 90 corporations are responsible for almost two thirds of historical greenhouse gas emissions - included in the list of companies is, of course, Big Oil. 


We’re excited to announce that in early 2022, we will be strengthening collective accountability through two new initiatives!  In the coming weeks we will be releasing the San Diego Climate Report Card, which we created in partnership with the Climate Defenders Action Fund and League of Conservation Voters San Diego, in order to hold elected officials accountable for climate action within the City of San Diego and County of San Diego.  Additionally, the San Diego Climate Hub will be launching a new initiative called the Fossil Fuel Free Pledge, which will highlight nonprofit organizations and elected officials that pledge to not accept fossil fuel donations.  Time and time again, we have seen oil and gas corporations use organizations as pawns to fight climate action and engage in greenwashing.  Keep an eye out for how your favorite nonprofit organizations and elected officials can take the pledge.


Here are some impactful goals and ideas to consider when planting intentions for the new year:


  • Reduce waste, stress and carbon emissions simultaneously by starting your own vegetable garden!  If planting space is limited, check out this blog post on DIY vertical gardens that include the use of upcycled plastic bottles
  • Join a local climate justice organization or coalition aiming to hold elected officials accountable to the climate targets they commit to, and set an intention of making public comments each month - below are some national nonprofit organizations to check out that may have a local chapter near you:
  • Educate yourself on the intersection of racism and the climate crisis - a good place to start is the widely regarded book Revolutionary Power by Shalanda Baker (available as an audiobook and can be purchased used or rented from the library) 
  • Aim for a low-waste, organic, plant-based lifestyle by opting for bulk and plastic-free foods, such as lentils, quinoa, beans and rice, using a repurposed container or jar and vegetables using reusable produce bags like these from EcoRoots
  • Survey your consumption patterns, and see where you may be able to choose second hand for household items, clothes and other items - we recommend checking out the Buy Nothing Project
  • Prioritize more self-care to ensure your own personal sustainability is on the agenda (which will also allow you to help the planet and others, long-term)
  • Give the gift of experiences in place of items, which create long-lasting memories along with the opportunity to support unique services like plant-based cooking classes
  • Survey your single-use items and household habits to create a zero-waste lifestyle wherever possible - feel free to check out this guide by Going Zero Waste


Thank you for supporting our work, whether you are part of a partner organization, coalition or an individual activist in our hometown of San Diego or across the globe.  We wish you a bright 2022 and look forward to working with you in the new year to create a more just and livable future for all.

Read more