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FERC OKs CAISO Day-Ahead Market // California’s Rooftop Solar Push Lulls

Welcome to Grid Brief! Here’s what we’re looking at today: FERC approves CAISO’s plan for a western day-ahead market in 2026, California’s rooftop solar hopes ebb, and more.

FERC OKs CAISO Day-Ahead Market

Photo by Jon Moore on Unsplash

Last Wednesday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the California’s Independent System Operator’s plan for regional day-ahead power markets, called Day-Ahead Market Enhancements and Extended Day-Ahead Market (EDAM).

“I believe such efforts will enhance reliability, expand the savings and efficiencies that wholesale markets provide, and contribute to consumers’ bottom line,” said FERC Chairman Willie Phillips.

“CAISO aims to launch the regional day-ahead market in the spring of 2026. Pacificorp, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and the Balancing Authority of Northern California plan to participate in the EDAM,” reports Utility Dive. “The new market will connect PacifiCorp and CAISO — the two largest grid operators in the West — potentially unlocking large amounts of clean energy resources with an expanded transmission network, Western Resource Advocates said.”

Concerns over California’s role in governance of the markets remain, however. CAISO is beholden to the California state government, unlike regional power markets like PJM.

California’s Rooftop Solar Push Lulls

More news out of California: the Golden State was once a paradise for rooftop solar. Now, lay-offs are roiling the workforce while bankruptcies ice employers big and small. What happened?

First and foremost, California slashed the amount of money rooftop solars owners can earn from selling their excess power to the grid—a practice known as net metering. Originally, ne -metering was meant to induce homeowners to install panels, but as the rooftop “fleet” grew, the scheme became regressive. According to the California utility PG&E, non-rooftop solar owners paid $5 billion more annually on their bills to homeowners with solar panels. California slashed the net metering kickbacks just as interest rates rose, which put the squeeze to the industry.

Hence the job losses—which look like they’re here to stay. “The California Solar & Storage Association [CSSA] found in a survey that 59% of the state’s solar contractors are anticipating further layoffs, with another 11% unsure,” reports Bloomberg. “The organization estimates California is on the brink of losing 17,000 jobs in the industry.”

“We are shedding jobs at a level that is reminiscent of the Great Depression,” Bernadette Del Chiaro, the executive director of the CSSA told Bloomberg.

Other states have pursued California’s net metering scale back, darkening the industry’s forecast. Between 2019 and 2022, nation-wide rooftop solar installation grew at an average of 32% per year, but is now expected to see no more than 5% annual growth for the rest of the decade, according to BloombergNEF.

The current situation reveals that the rooftop solar industry is still heavily reliant on government policy to remain healthy.

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