Tesla CEO Elon Musk is criticizing California lawmakers over a “bizarre” new solar tax, while the automaker created a website for people to send complaints to Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA).
The California Public Utilities Commission’s proposal would “evolve decarbonization incentive efforts to meet the state’s groundbreaking clean energy goals” by creating a “grid participation charge” of $8 per kilowatt for residential solar panel users. Tesla — which operates Tesla Energy, a venture that sells and installs solar panel systems — is condemning the move:
Bowing to pressure from the California utilities, the CPUC is proposing new net metering rules (NEM 3.0) that includes a “grid access” fee of $8/kW of installed solar per month – in addition to other fees – that could add between $50-$80/month to the electric bill of a home solar customer. If adopted, this would be the highest solar fee anywhere in the country, including states hostile to renewable energy. In addition, the proposal would reduce the value of bill credits for solar energy sent to the grid by about 80 percent.
Unbelievably, the California utilities and CPUC also proposed to change the rules for customers who have already signed contracts and purchased a solar system, which violates basic principles of fairness. Under the CPUC’s proposal, customers who installed solar under the NEM 1.0 and NEM 2.0 rules – which were guaranteed to be in place for 20 years when customers enrolled – would see their “grandfathering period” reduced to 15 years from the date they installed their system, after which they would go on NEM 3.0.
Among other actions, Tesla recommended that citizens call Newsom’s office, provide verbal comment at upcoming CPUC meetings, and “tweet at” Newsom using the hashtag “#SaveSolar.”
On Twitter, Musk linked to the webpage and condemned the “bizarre anti-environment move by govt of California.”
Bizarre anti-environment move by govt of California https://t.co/1OwdBNWbxT
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 12, 2022
Musk — currently the world’s richest man — recently paid $11 billion in taxes. Nevertheless, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) argued that he was still failing to fork over his “fair share.”
The comment came after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — another progressive lawmaker — denounced Musk earlier in December for “freeloading off everyone else” and benefiting from “the rigged tax code.” Musk replied to Warren: “And if you opened your eyes for 2 seconds, you would realize I will pay more taxes than any American in history this year.”
“Elon Musk made $36 BILLION in one day, but wants to brag about paying an $11 billion tax bill,” Jayapal chimed in. “Oh yeah, he also added more than $270 BILLION in wealth just since the pandemic started. Time for the rich to pay their fair share.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) rose to Musk’s defense: “Got it. You don’t like @elonmusk. Who else do you want to loot?”