Environmental News – SOLAR

Californias solar roofs program expands

August 21, 2006 10:37am

More people eligible

Will be able to sell excess power back to the electric company

California’s so-called “Million Solar Roofs Plan” is being expanded with the signing of legislation by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that lets more people participate in the program and allows more solar customers to sell their excess power back to the electric companies.

In signing Senate Bill 1 authored by state Sen. Kevin Murray, D-Los Angeles, into law Monday, the governor says all aspects of the plan are now in place.

My Million Solar Roofs Plan will provide 3,000 megawatts of additional clean energy and reduce the output of greenhouse gasses by three million tons which is like taking one million cars off the road, Mr. Schwarzenegger says in a written statement.

The governors office expects the plan to lead to one million solar roofs in California by 2018.

Specifically, SB 1 implements the portions of the plan that the California Public Utilities Commission 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 Sacramento Municipal Utilities District and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

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. Currently, the cap on the number of customers who can use this option is 0.5 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, the governors office says.

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 Jan. 1, 2011.

One million solar roofs would provide the output equivalent of five modern electric power plants, the governors office says.

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