SCE and PG&E Kill California Shared Solar Bill in 11th Hour

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A much anticipated bill that would have expanded access to solar energy to the majority of Californians failed in the final hours of California’s legislative session on Friday.

SB 843, sponsored by Senator Lois Wolk, would have created a 2 GW shared solar program that would have enabled millions of California renters, small businesses, and public agencies to go solar the first time. By allowing customers to participate in community shared renewable energy systems, it would give customers a way to go solar even if they don’t have a suitable roof of their own.

A broad and diverse coalition of over 100 organizations, including labor, military, education, environmental, and business groups worked for over a year in support of SB 843.

So why did it die? Here’s what Senator Wolk had to say in a statement:

“Unfortunately, PG&E and Southern California Edison control the [Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce]. There was an agreement between the Assembly Speaker, the Committee Chair, and me that would have scaled the bill down to a pilot program under the Public Utilities Commission’s guidance and oversight. That agreement wasn’t honored and the bill died in committee, depriving the public of innovative energy policy in line with Governor Brown’s initiatives.”

Yeah. Not cool. Solar Industry Mag provides more color here.

Shared solar is a game changer, and sometimes it takes a few tries to make big things happen. Newly fired up members of the Assembly and Senate are already talking about sponsoring the bill next year. In order to win next time, we’ll need to make sure that real data on the benefits of distributed solar gets in front of policymakers. You can be sure we’re working nonstop to make that happen, and help make shared solar a reality for Californians.

In the meantime, a huge thanks to all those who lent their voices in support this year.

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

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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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