As state legislative sessions head towards a close pro-solar bills are advancing in a number of states like New Jersey and South Carolina. The bills in New Jersey would protect the solar industry there for solar companies and consumers while the bill moving forward in South Carolina would remove a 2 percent net-metering cap in the state.
While New Jersey has remained one of the nation’s best states for solar for years, South Carolina is a state that can greatly expand its solar presence quickly. The legislative efforts show states want more solar power even as the federal government under the Trump Administration and Republican control are pushing for more coal power. Both efforts are being hailed by the solar industry and clean energy advocates.
In South Carolina House Bill 4421 “Electric Consumer Bill of Rights Act” passed with bipartisan support on a 64 to 33 vote. The South Carolina bill would help ensure that more people can go solar in the state by lifting restrictions on net metering. The state has been making progress and is expanding the growth of solar power in the state.
"We applaud the bi-partisan leadership of South Carolina lawmakers, who have prioritized the interests of their constituents by passing H. 4421 today. South Carolinians pay some of the highest utility bills in the country, and this vote takes one important step toward giving more families and businesses a competitive option for lowering their electricity bills and protecting the state’s 3,000 local solar jobs. We now look to the Senate to support the bill and move South Carolina’s clean energy economy forward with a commitment to property rights and free market principles."
The legislation moving forward in New Jersey, Assembly Bill 3723 and its companion Senate Bill, 2314, are moving forward from their committees. The bills would do a number of things, including stabilizing the solar market through 2021 by increasing the solar target and closing the state’s solar renewable energy credit trading program in an orderly fashion, enabling community solar and expanding the state’s renewable portfolio standard to 50 percent by 2030. The bill also would set into motion a process for creating the next generation of solar incentives in the state.
Nearly 50 solar companies in the state sent a letter advocating for the bills to the governor as well as both houses of the state’s congress. They also were supported by Vote Solar, Earthjustice, the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Sunrun.
“S.2314 has the potential to expand solar access to low and moderate income residents of New Jersey and we are encouraged by the committee’s vote to advance this legislation to the floor,” said Luis Torres, Senior Legislative Representative for Earthjustice. “As the process moves forward, we will continue to work with the legislature, where possible, and the BPU, to advocate for the inclusion of strong parameters for projects authorized under this act to ensure equity and access for low and moderate income families.”Tweet