Gov­er­nor Jerry Brown
State Capi­tol
Sacra­mento, CA 95814

Sen­ate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon
State Capi­tol
Sacra­mento, CA 95814

RE:  Cal­i­for­nia Dis­trib­uted Power

Dear Gov­er­nor Brown and Sen­a­tor de Leon:

As lead­ing investors in California’s clean­tech indus­try, we greatly appre­ci­ate your lead­er­ship to estab­lish strong renew­able energy goals that will reduce cli­mate pol­lu­tion. With only three weeks left in this year’s leg­isla­tive ses­sion, we wish to bring to your atten­tion an impor­tant gap in cur­rent state pol­icy efforts.

As Gov­er­nor Brown noted in his Jan­u­ary 2015 State of the State address, deriv­ing 50 per­cent of our elec­tric­ity from renew­able sources by 2030 will require trans­form­ing our elec­tric­ity grid and dis­trib­uted power must play an impor­tant role. This means expanded deploy­ment of rooftop solar, which is occur­ring across the state in large part because of the avail­abil­ity of net energy meter­ing (NEM).

The NEM pol­icy has helped California’s solar indus­try grow into a world leader and lever­age bil­lions of dol­lars in pri­vate invest­ment in the instal­la­tion of dis­trib­uted solar energy sys­tems across the state. This pol­icy has helped cre­ate more than 54,000 solar jobs all over Cal­i­for­nia — greater than the total num­ber of per­sons employed by the state’s five largest util­i­ties. The NEM pol­icy is also spurring inno­va­tions that have enabled the solar indus­try to scale, bring down costs sub­stan­tially, and save energy con­sumers in Cal­i­for­nia bil­lions of dollars.

Leg­is­la­tion that Gov­er­nor Brown signed two years ago, AB 327, requires that the Pub­lic Util­i­ties Com­mis­sion (PUC) develop new NEM rules by the end of the year that now are pro­jected to be imple­mented for new cus­tomers in many com­mu­ni­ties across the state dur­ing 2016. In recent fil­ings at the PUC, the util­i­ties have pro­posed end­ing NEM and replac­ing it with rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent pro­grams and rate designs that would destroy the eco­nom­ics for solar customers.

Investors have been com­mit­ting cap­i­tal to California’s rapidly grow­ing rooftop solar indus­try with the expec­ta­tion that the state’s solar-​​friendly poli­cies will not be dra­mat­i­cally changed overnight. That expec­ta­tion is now being called into ques­tion by the util­i­ties’ pro­pos­als and the PUC Energy Division’s appar­ent deci­sion to apply the wrong cost-​​effectiveness test when eval­u­at­ing the pro­gram. This mar­ket uncer­tainty is com­pounded by imple­men­ta­tion of sig­nif­i­cant changes to elec­tric­ity rates and tar­iffs, the sched­uled step-​​down of the fed­eral Invest­ment Tax Credit for solar at the end of 2016, and the focus of the renew­able port­fo­lio stan­dard (RPS) on larger systems.

We ask that you restore pol­icy cer­tainty for California’s rooftop solar indus­try by ensur­ing that a sus­tain­able NEM pol­icy con­tin­ues. This will reas­sure the mar­ket and the ven­ture cap­i­tal com­mu­nity of the state’s ongo­ing com­mit­ment to include dis­trib­uted power in California’s clean energy plans. It will encour­age addi­tional private-​​sector invest­ment and job growth in our state’s grow­ing clean­tech indus­try and send a pow­er­ful sig­nal to mar­kets in other states.


Nancy E. Pfund
Man­ag­ing Partner

Raj Atluru
Ven­ture investor

Rick Brown, Ph.D.
Pres­i­dent, Ter­raVerde Renew­able Partners

Josh Cohen
Man­ag­ing Part­ner, City Light Capital

Robert Dav­en­port III
Man­ag­ing Part­ner, Brightpath

John Doerr
Part­ner, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers

Ira Ehren­preis
Man­ag­ing Part­ner, DBL Partners

Char­lie Finnie
Man­ag­ing Part­ner, Greener Capital

John Fisher
Man­ag­ing Direc­tor, Draper Fisher Jurvetson

Josh Green
Man­ag­ing Part­ner, CCM Energy

David Kirk­patrick
Man­ag­ing Direc­tor, SJF Ventures

Ben Kort­lang
Part­ner, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers

David Prend
Man­ag­ing Gen­eral Part­ner, Rock­port Capital

Zeb Rice
Man­ag­ing Part­ner, Ange­leno Group

Dipen­der Saluja
Part­ner & Man­ag­ing Direc­tor, Capri­corn Invest­ment Group

Steve Vas­sallo
Gen­eral Part­ner, Foun­da­tion Capital

Steve Westly
Man­ag­ing Part­ner, Westly Group

Don Wood
Part­ner, Draper Fisher Jurvetson

cc:           Assem­bly Speaker Toni Atkins
Assem­bly Mem­ber Susan Bonilla
Assem­bly Mem­ber Jim Cooper
Assem­bly Mem­ber Richard Gor­don
Assem­bly Mem­ber Patrick O’Donnell
Assem­bly Mem­ber Henry Perea
Assem­bly Mem­ber Bill Quirk
Assem­bly Mem­ber Anthony Ren­don
Assem­bly Mem­ber Phil Ting
Assem­bly Mem­ber Das Williams