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Community Solar Bill Defeated - Wait 'til Next Year

09/01/12

  10:39:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 656 words  
Categories: SCE, Commercial Solar, Residential Solar, Ranting

Community Solar Bill Defeated - Wait 'til Next Year

SB 843, the proposed law that would have allowed for Community Solar installations, has been defeated.  Faced with unyielding opposition from Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE), the bill was killed in the Utilities and Commerce committee of the Assembly.

Community Solar allows renters, home owners with undesirable roofs, or businesses that don’t own their own buildings to “go solar” by owning a piece of the output of a community solar installation.  Since a large percentage of potential solar clients fall into those circumstances, the concept of community solar is extremely appealing.  (Over the years, we have had numerous potential clients that we have had to turn away because their site would simply not support a viable solar installation.  These people would be natural participants in a community solar project.)

Indeed, the list of organizations supporting the bill contrasts sharply with those opposing:

Support for SB 843 (Wolk)

Education
Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson (Co-sponsor)
California School Board Association
County School Facilities Consortium (CASH)
Davis Joint Unified School District
Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District
Fowler Unified School District
Los Angeles Unified School District
Oakland Unified School District
Petaluma City Schools
School Energy Coalition
Yolo County Board of Education

Military
Department of Defense

State and Local Government
City of Davis (Co-sponsor)
City of Chula Vista
City of San Diego
City of San Jose
City of Ventura
County of Sonoma
Jean Quan, Mayor, City of Oakland
Keith Carson, Supervisor 5th District Alameda County

Community & Environmental Justice Groups
Advancement Project
Affordable Housing Alliance
Asia Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
Black Women For Wellness
Californians for Clean Energy & Jobs Network
CleanTECH San Diego
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles
Community Coalition
East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice
Ella Baker Center
Korean Resource Center
Kyoto USA
Leadership Management Institute
Los Angeles Community Action Network
Oakland Rising
Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles
Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SLVG)
Vote Solar
William C. Velásquez Institute

Environmental Advocates
California League of Conservation Voters
California Native Plant Society
Community Environmental Council
Environment California
Environmental Defense Fund
Natural Resources Defense Council
Planning and Conservation League
Sierra Club California
Union of Concerned Scientists

Faith Community
California Interfaith Power & Light
Chapel of Peace Lutheran Church, Inglewood

Utility
San Diego Gas & Electric

Business
Blueray Curtiss
Botanical Labs
Cauac Inc.
Christiansen Consulting
Cynthia Washburn Catering
Environmental Entrepreneurs (213 members)
Green Build Energy
Los Angeles Business Council (LABC)
LMI of San Diego
LTS Energy
PaulinNeal
Poetic Kinetics
Rabobank North America
Ritual Coffee Roasters
Small Business California
Swinerton Builders

Solar/Renewable Energy
AmSolar
Androit Solar Energy Design
Black Rock Solar
CleanPath Ventures
Clean Tech Energy
El Pico Energy LLC
Lincoln Renewable Energy
Octus Energy
Recurrent Energy
Renewable Funding
Run on Sun
San Diego County Solar
Solar City
Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
Solar Mosaic
Solar Pathways
Solar West Design
Sologico
Sungevity
Sun Run
SunTech
Tioga Energy
Yingli Green Energy Americas, Inc.

Labor
California Building Trades Council
California State Association of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
California Teamsters
Coalition of California Utility Employee
Homeboy Enterprises
LA/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council
Oakland Tech Green Academy
Solar Training Institute
Winston Burton, Exec. Director of the Workforce Collaborative

Health
American Lung Association of California
Breathe California


Opposition for SB 843 (Wolk)

California Farm Bureau Federation
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Southern California Edison

Unfortunately, an appealing concept with broad support can still be extremely difficult to turn into practical legislation, and with the end of the session looming, there simply was not enough time to get this bill across the finish line - despite heroic efforts by many dedicated solar advocates.

But I’m a Dodgers fan, and we are accustomed to the refrain, “wait ’til next year."  Accustomed, but not resigned, that is.  So next year, when this measure is re-worked and re-introduced, we intend to be on it from Day 1 and we will be encouraging all of you to make your voices heard early and often so that we can finally get this done.

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Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
Run on Sun also offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities, and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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