Friday, October 16, 2009

California Requires Utilities to Pay Customers More for Unused Wind, Solar Power Generation

In a move expected to give a nice boost to California's solar industry -- including by increasing commercial roof-top installations (taking good advantage of that otherwise wasted roof space) -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has approved two major initiatives that will require utilities to pay consumers for generating extra power and will boost the payoff for certain solar facilities:

Homes, businesses and schools that have solar panels or wind turbines previously had no financial incentive to use less electricity than they generated. But AB 920, written by Assemblyman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), will encourage efficiency, supporters say.

SB 32, by state Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino), requires utilities to purchase solar electricity from facilities that produce up to three megawatts and could increase installations on unused spaces such as warehouse roofs. The old limit was 1.5 megawatts.

The two bills will go into effect Jan. 1. 

Unfortunately, the Governator also vetoed several bills that would have bolstered green jobs in California by not only mandating that 33% of energy comes from renewable sources by 2020, but limiting the amount of renewable energy that can be purchased from out-of-state providers.  Not sure what Arnold's rationale is there...

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