California Governor Signs Million Solar Roofs Plan

Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 1 by Senator Kevin Murray (D-Los Angeles) yesterday, putting the finishing touches on the Governor’s Million Solar Roofs Plan.

“When I ran for governor, I vowed to make the environment the centerpiece of my administration and turn back the clock on pollution,” said Gov. Schwarzenegger. “My Million Solar Roofs Plan will provide 3,000 megawatts of additional clean energy and reduce the output of greenhouse gasses by 3 million tons which is like taking one million cars off the road. I want to thank Sen. Kevin Murray for his hard work in helping me make California the leader on solar power again.”

Last year, the Governor asked the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to implement his Million Solar Roofs plan. Dubbed the California Solar Initiative by the CPUC, the plan will lead to one million solar roofs in California by 2018.

Specifically, SB 1 implements the portions of the Million Solar Roofs plan that the CPUC does not have the authority to mandate, including:

· Expanding the Program: The current implementation of the Million Solar Roofs plan only applies to customers of Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric. SB 1 expands the program to customers of the municipal-owned utilities such as SMUD and LADWP.

· Crediting Consumers for Excess Power Produced: Consumers who install solar panels on their homes and businesses can sell excess energy back to power companies for credit on their monthly bills. This credit is a key incentive for consumers to install solar panels. Currently, the cap on the number of customers who can use this option is .5 percent. SB 1 raises this to 2.5 percent. Raising the ceiling will provide part of the needed financial incentive to bring more solar power on to the grid.

· Making Solar Power a Standard Item on New Homes: SB 1 would require a developer of more than 50 new single family homes offer the option of a solar energy system to all customers beginning January 1, 2011. One million solar roofs will greatly increase the state’s rooftop solar energy capacity, providing the output equivalent of five modern electric power plants. This program’s 3,000 megawatt goal, taken together with other aggressive solar initiatives such as requiring utilities to acquire 20 percent of the power used within the state from renewable sources, will make California once again a world leader in solar power.

Since taking office, the Governor has made it a priority to develop a self-sustaining solar industry for California. In 2004, he introduced the Million Solar Roofs Initiative, which included $2.9 billion in incentives to homeowners and building owners who install solar electric systems.

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