Just when it seemed like the outlook for renewables in California couldn’t get any brighter, the state legislature has passed a bill that will open up access to the 75% of its residents unable to install clean energy on their property.
SB 43, also known as the “shared renewables” bill, passed the State Assembly and Senate yesterday, and now heads to Governor Jerry Brown for signature into law.
The bill immediately creates the largest shared renewables program in the US and could supercharge California’s clean energy economy – all without any state subsidies or extra costs to non-participating residents.
New Access To Renewables For Millions Of Residents
California’s Green Tariff Shared Renewables Program, as the shared renewables program is officially called, allows any customer of the state’s three largest utilities to purchase up to 100% renewable electricity for their home or businesses. Cumulative investments will be capped at 600 megawatts (MW) and the program will sunset in 2019.
For context, California installed 521MW of solar during the second quarter of 2013 – an all-time record for any one state in a three-month period. Considering any new renewables capacity created by the shared renewables program would be in addition to the state’s 33% renewable portfolio standard, this could theoretically push the state’s annual solar installation record further than ever before.
Buying renewable power on the electricity market isn’t a new idea, but California’s shared renewables program and the customers it would reach bring a few new twists to the scene. To start, the program targets people without property suitable to install clean energy systems – renters, business owners who lease offices, those with shaded roofs, people in homeowner associations, and so on.
“SB 43 will allow the millions of Californians who cannot install their own solar unit, windmill, or other renewable power generation sys