Solar is already a huge California success story. The Golden State is leading the nation in new installations, helping to drive costs down and reaping economic and environmental benefits as more and more of our power comes from the sun. Now momentum is building in Sacramento for a new approach that will let the state shine even brighter: shared solar.
The traditional panels-on-your-roof solar model is growing like gangbusters, but it simply doesn’t work for those who don’t own a suitable roof — say, those who rent their homes or office space, or a school with shaded roofs. Shared solar allows these energy customers to instead subscribe to an offsite solar project and get credit on their utility bills for clean power produced. Other states including Colorado are already experimenting with shared solar programs (check out this article in GreenTech Media today and a new website highlighting all the shared renewables progress happening around the country). And this year, shared renewables is poised to become a reality on a larger scale in California.
Vote Solar and many allies are working to pass legislation in Sacramento that would create an initial pilot program of 500-1000 megawatts, enough to replace up to two big fossil-fueled power plants with clean energy over and above what’s required under the state’s other clean energy programs. Our coalition is supporting two shared renewables bills in Sacramento this year, Senate Bill 43 (authored by Senator Wolk), and Assembly Bill 1014 (authored by Assemblymember Williams). The bills are virtually identical, but they will be moving concurrently to make sure the momentum gets good shared solar policy to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law. SB 43 and AB 1014 will both be referred for an initial committee vote in the next few weeks.
Shared solar makes sense, but you can bet on some opposition from the big utilities since it would allow more of their customers to opt out of buying power from big dirty power plants. So we’ll need your help . . .
We’re excited to announce a new website where you can learn all about the California Shared Renewables campaign: CaliforniaSharedRenewables.org. Check it out and sign up to receive updates and critical action alerts as the bills move forward.
Shared renewables will give California another way to drive solar success to greater heights, throwing the doors wide open for even more sunny goodness: energy bill savings, local jobs, private investment, cleaner air and healthier communities. Together, we can give all Californians the opportunity to choose 100% renewable energy!