CA Shared Solar Bill Would Mean 12,000 Jobs, $7.5 Billion in Economic Activity

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We released a new report yesterday shining light on how California legislation to expand access to rooftop solar and other renewables would create thousands of local jobs and deliver impressive economic benefits more broadly.

Clean energy is one of the fastest growing sectors of California’s economy, yet three out of four energy customers – including the state’s millions of renters – are unable to generate their own on-site power from solar, wind and other renewables. Senate Bill 843 seeks to offer those customers a new path to clean energy and spur additional private sector investment and job growth in California’s clean energy sector. The bill is expected to deploy 2-gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy capacity, equivalent to 4 conventional fossil fuel power plants and approximately double the amount of rooftop solar currently installed in the state. Best of all? It won’t add any red to the already strapped California state budget.

Specifically, we found that SB 843 would deliver:

    • At least 12,000 direct and induced local jobs. This bill would create thousands of construction-related jobs each year, in addition to long term operations and maintenance jobs. These are high quality local employment opportunities across a broad range of education requirements, salary levels and fields. This bill represents an opportunity for thousands of Californians to secure well-paid employment in an industry with solid growth projections.

    • $230 million in tax revenues. The sales tax on renewable energy systems installed under SB 843 would provide much needed revenue for the state of California.

    • $7.5 billion in total economic output. This includes wages, salaries and revenues that can be reinvested into the state economy, creating a significant new economic engine for California.

  • In very real terms, SB 843 would be the job creation equivalent of one of California’s largest employers, putting more people to work in the state than Cisco or Applied Materials. By simply enabling more Californians to invest in and receive the benefits of renewable energy systems, the state can unleash tremendous economic activity without using any precious state funds.

    SB 843, authored by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis), proposes a new way for Californian homes, businesses, schools and public agencies to harness renewable energy. It would establish a framework for shared community renewable energy systems for customers of the state’s major utilities: PG&E, SCE and SDG&E. Customers who choose to participate would receive credit on their utility bills for their portion of the clean power generated, much as if those renewable energy systems were located at their own home or business.

    We used the Job and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) model developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The analysis used inputs and assumptions drawn from real-world experience of California solar installers and global market data.

    You’ll find the full report here.

    Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream.

    About Author

    Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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