A bipartisan group of California State Senators and Assembly members have introduced a Solar Bill of Rights for the state that would protect the right of home and business owners to generate and store their electricity without facing charges from the utilities in the state. State Sens. Scott Wiener (D) and Jim Nielsen (R) held a press conference flanked by more than 50 homeowners, farmers and more to support the bill.
The new legislation, Senate Bill (SB) 288, would allow consumers to generate electricity by rooftop solar and other reenable sources and store energy onsite without being subject to utility tariffs and interconnection fees. It also would allow consumers to interconnect energy systems without facing any delays from utilities, while also compensating them for energy they put back on the electric grid.
“To fight climate change, California is moving aggressively to 100 percent renewable energy,” Wiener said. “To meet our 100 percent renewable energy goal, we must make it easier for individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and public agencies to generate their own renewable energy. This legislation is about ensuring that we all have access to the benefits of solar and other sources of renewable energy.”
The new bill compliments other efforts in the state to drastically increase renewable energy generation in California. For instance last year Former California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed into law legislation that will move the state to 100 percent clean energy by 2045.
In addition, the California Energy Commission developed new rules that require all new homes built in 2020 in the state and beyond to include solar power. The rules were accepted last year, allowing them to go forward.
“With solar energy being mandated for new homes, it is important for individual homeowners to have fair compensation for energy produced on their properties,” Nielsen said.
The new legislation would help ensure that utilities across the state offer fair compensation to distributed energy resources (DERs) like rooftop solar on homes, schools and businesses. The measures would help reduce barriers to going solar, like reducing the overall cost of a solar array.
"Solar energy has become an important part of managing our schools, saving us significant operational funds that can be much better spent on the educational needs of our kids," said Ken Testa, director of facilities for the Merced City School District. "But despite the state's commitment to solar energy, there are real barriers for consumers that need to be seriously addressed, particularly at the interconnection level."
The legislation also was co-authored by Senator Jeff Stone (R-Temecula) and Assembly members Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), James Gallagher (R-Yuba City), and Robert Rivas (D-Hollister). The legislation also was supported by Vote Solar, Solar Rights Alliance, California Solar & Storage Association, Brightline Defense, California Housing Partnership Corporation, and Environment California.
“When our public agencies put up barriers to make it harder and less attractive to install renewable energy, we’re all worse for it. California needs to move away from a purely centralized, monopoly approach to energy in California,” Weiner stated. “If we’ve learned anything from our push toward 100 percent renewable energy and from the recent wildfire disasters, it’s that we need both a diversity of energy sources and more decentralized energy generation. We must make it easier and more affordable — not harder and more expensive — to install and use these technologies.”Tweet