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Solar Energy Shines in California’s 2013 Legislative Session
Lawmakers pass suite of bills to expand California solar investment, benefits
San Francisco – September 12, 2013 – The California legislative session will end this week with lawmakers passing four bills that expand and strengthen the state’s growing solar energy market. The Vote Solar Initiative (Vote Solar) applauded state legislators and Governor Brown for their continued commitment to building a healthier, more prosperous, more resilient solar-powered California. All four bills now await the Governor’s signature.
“Thanks to policymaker leadership and a hefty dose of the pioneering spirit that makes the Golden State famous, solar is a real and growing part of California’s energy landscape. This year’s legislative session closes with our lawmakers having clearly reaffirmed their commitment to continued solar success and connecting Californians with the clean energy they want. Together these bills give residents, schools and businesses across the state more ways to participate in, invest in and benefit from our growing solar economy,” said Susannah Churchill, California policy advocate at Vote Solar.
Vote Solar supported four bills passed in California’s 2013 legislative session, which included:
- AB 327 (Perea) – a net metering and rate reform bill that contains a number of strong provisions for distributed solar. AB 327 ensures that one of California’s most important solar consumer rights, net metering, will stay in place until at least 2016 instead of being suspended as soon as next year. It also gives the California Public Utilities Commission authority to remove caps on participation in the program altogether for the first time in California history. These changes chart the way forward toward long-term solar industry sustainability, and will help hundreds of thousands of homes, schools and businesses go solar and lower their electricity bills.
- SB 43 (Wolk) – a bill that enables thousands of Californians, including renters and those with shaded roofs, to go solar for the first time. SB 43 establishes a new 600 Megawatt statewide program that will allow the customers of investor-owned utilities to purchase up to 100 percent of their electricity from an off-site renewable energy system. Program participants then receive a credit on their utility bill for the clean energy produced.
- AB 217 (Bradford) – a bill that expands the state’s successful low-income solar program. The Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes and Multi-Family Affordable Solar Housing Programs (SASH and MASH), offer solar rebates for families and housing developments meeting strict income and affordability requirements, while creating solar job training opportunities in a fast-growing industry. The first of their kind in the nation, the programs began in 2009 through the California Solar Initiative and are slated to end in 2016. AB 217 extends the two programs through 2021.
- AB 792 (Mullin) – a bill that clarifies consistent treatment of local utility user’s tax for all solar customers, irrespective of the financing model used. AB 792 creates more tax certainty for Californians who go solar through a third-party PPA financing model, which accounted for more than 70% of the state’s residential solar market in 2012.
California is the nation’s solar power leader with 3,761 Megawatts installed, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The state currently generates enough clean, reliable solar energy to power more than 800,000 homes. This growing solar industry employs more than 43,700 Californians, according to the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Job Census.
About Vote Solar:
Founded in 2002, the Vote Solar Initiative (Vote Solar) is a grassroots non-profit organization working to combat climate change and foster economic development by bringing solar energy into the mainstream. www.votesolar.org