California Shared Solar Bill Holds Promise for Schools, Businesses

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Right now, a bill in Sacramento, SB 843, has the power to allow thousands of California energy consumers to go solar for the first time. Shared solar is a game-changer that could unleash huge new private investment in clean energy. But its fate rests on SB 843 and needs Californians to voice support now to pass. (TAKE ACTION: We’ve made it easy here).

Under SB 843, customers of PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E would have access to affordable solar energy even if they don’t have a suitable roof to put it on. SB 843 would allow customers to sign up to participate in shared renewable energy projects, and receive a credit on their utility bill for the clean energy produced by their share of the project. The project can be located wherever it makes the most sense – in a city park, on an old landfill, out in the desert. By allowing customers to subscribe to shared solar projects, SB 843 broadens access to clean energy to thousands more Californians.

The proposal would be especially effective for expanding solar access to thousands of California schools, hospitals, churches, small businesses, and other commercial energy consumers. The program would be open to renters and homeowners as well, but it’s not clear it will be implemented in a way that delivers enough value to residential customers. We’ll keep working at the legislature and, if the bill passes, at the Commission to make the program work for California residents.

The shared solar projects built as a result of SB 843 would require no state subsidies; in fact, the program would result in $235 million in sales tax revenue to the state by 2019! SB 843 would also create jobs – 12,000 of them, in a competitive and growing industry. All told the 2 GW of clean energy projects built under the program would result in $7.5 billion in economic activity in the state through 2019.

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.