California solar legislation opposed by utilities

Supporters see it as a way to generate solar-installation jobs in communities that are often located near factories, oil refineries or older power plants burning fossil fuels

By David R. Baker

San Francisco Chronicle

California legislators are poised to vote this week on a pair of bills that would help renters and low-income communities go solar.

But the bills have encountered stiff resistance from some utility companies, which call them unnecessary and expensive.

While California homeowners have been installing solar systems on their rooftops at a rapid clip, renters don’t have that option. So one of the bills, SB843, would allow renters to buy electricity from solar systems located elsewhere.

They would sign contracts with developers sticking solar panels on warehouses, office buildings or open fields. The renters would then receive a credit on their monthly utility bill. Businesses or government agencies that lease their buildings could do the same. The bill could add as much as 2 gigawatts of solar power – roughly the equivalent of two nuclear reactors – to the state’s electricity grid.

“It’s the ability to allow more participation, allow more types of people to participate in the solar economy,” said Adam Browning, executive director of the Vote Solar advocacy group. “There is a tremendous level of interest in this.”


If interested in discussing energy matters, you can contact Court Rich, director of Rose Law Group’s Renewable Energy Implementation Department,


Board of Supervisors approves Camp Verde solar project/Imperial Valley Press

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August 2012