News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.

Solar Bills Pass California Legislature

Burning the midnight oil to get solar bills passed at the California Legislature | Photo: Mark Brooks/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Three bills designed to make it easier for Californians to join the solar world passed the California legislature this week. Though fairly technical in nature, the bills streamline and simplify the process of hooking up to solar power generation for California residents and businesses. Two of the bills are headed for the Governor's desk; one is now heading from the Assembly to the Senate to work out differences in wording between the two houses' versions of the bill.

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The bill heading for the concurrence discussion is SB 594, authored by State Senators Lois Wolk and Sam Blakeslee, which would make it easier property owners whose property is served by more than one electric meter to aggregate those meters into one account for net metering. This would provide a better incentive for the property owner to install larger solar arrays.

SB 1222, authored by Mark Leno, would set a cap on the price of building permits for rooftop solar at $500 for the system plus $15 per kilowatt for residential systems, and $1,000 plus $7 per kilowatt for commercial properties. As ReWire mentioned earlier this week, permits are one of the major contributors to the upfront costs of installing solar systems.

AB 2249, authored by Joan Buchanan, would expand a state incentive promoting the use of solar water heaters for pools to allow schools and non-profits to take part in the program.

California's legal infrastructure will need as much tinkering to meet the demands of the new renewables era as its physical infrastructure does, so look for lots more of these bills in the future tweaking a regulation here and a rule there to make solar development easier.

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About the Author

Chris Clarke is a natural history writer and environmental journalist currently at work on a book about the Joshua tree. He lives in Joshua Tree.
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