California Capital Building
by ecoSolargy

CA Legislative Roundup: Victories for Solar, Failures for Metaphors

NOTE: As of October 8, 2013, the below bills have all been signed into law by Governor Brown.  Most of the bills still need to be regulated by the CPUC in order to be available for the market.

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! I can’t tell you how crazy these past few weeks have been with recent legislation up in Sacramento.  Well, I could…but it’s pretty scary. And this blog is supposed to entertain, not frighten.  (Wait for our Halloween posts!)

Okay fine, I’ll tell you about some of the drama that happened in Sacramento this week.  But, we’ll do it like a fairy tale!  Now, the ducks (California assembly) were working on bills #Haha to regulate the bunnies (utilities).  These bunnies provide carrots (electricity) to the chinchillas (people).   The bunnies charge the chinchillas lettuce for those carrots.  Some chinchillas have discovered they can grow their own organic carrots (solar) and the bunnies don’t want to give the residential chinchillas full lettuce rates for their carrots…

Ok, but seriously, what happened over the last week?  AB 327 has passed the senate and is expected to get the Governor’s signature.  AB 327 now protects net metering up to 5,200 MW.  Now net metering won’t be suspended after 2014! It gives the potential for the CPUC to remove all net energy metering caps.  We could grow so many carrots! But seriously, that is huge.  Eliminating this restriction would set a precedent nationwide and solar could make up a significant portion of our grid! #EvenMoreCarrots  They also are forcing the investor-owned utilities to submit plans on how solar, aka distributed generation, benefits the grid.  Oh yeah, they also changed our RPS.  YAY!!!

Here’s a quick rundown of the awesomeness of our RPS & the changes: the California Renewable Portfolio Standard has been turned upside down once again before the deadline. When the RPS was originally slated, it required 20% of California’s electricity to be from renewable sources. We were a leader in the country! But Californians love challenges and we’re close to that goal, so in 2008 we raised the goal to 33% by 2020.  Pretty darn good!  AB 327 presented another landmark by changing the 33% ceiling goal into a floor goal. That sounds ridiculous, right? I could explain it more, but I’d use bunnies and carrots again… sorry!  What you need to know is AB 327 requires utilities to exceed the 33% goal. More renewable energy!!!

California Capital BuildingThe next awesomeness is SB 43.  This bill allows for Virtual Net Metering for anyone who wants to go solar.  People who don’t own their building, people with shaded roofs, and people without capital can go solar with SB 43.  We’ll explain virtual net metering in a future blog post, but essentially, it allows you to offset your electricity bill with a solar array in the next city over.

There’s more awesomeness?  Yes, there is no other word that adequately describes these bills!  AB 217 protects existing low-income solar incentive programs through 2021.  This program has had great success in reducing electricity costs for those in need. The previous funding was exhausted, so this bill is a victory for solar and working-class Californians.

Ok, so AB 792 isn’t quite exciting…but it’s still awesome.  AB 792 prevents utilities from taxing solar customers on the clean electricity they produce.  We’re ending with a boring one but remember, our RPS has changed for the better, virtual net metering is growing, and solar will continue to help those in need!

If you have any questions about the new legislation tweet at us, contact us, or even comment! :)

Learn more about it from this Renewable Energy World article.


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