As our dependence on natural gas drives up winter energy bills 40 to 70 percent, what will happen with our Million Solar Roofs campaign?
In addition to reducing global warming pollution, a million solar roofs mean 3,000 MW of energy, the equivalent of six giant power plants. This investment will ease demand for limited fossil fuels, hedge against higher prices and bring economic benefits to all.
So, after the Million Solar Roofs Bill, SB 1, failed to pass the Legislature in September, what can we expect of this important initiative in the coming year?
On January 12, 2006, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is expected to approve a landmark 10-year, $3.2 billion incentive program for homes, businesses, farms and schools to go solar. This giant pot of money, called the California Solar Initiative (CSI), is the core of SB 1 and aims to drive down costs by driving up demand.
When the Legislature reconvenes in 2006, the remaining policy elements of SB 1 still await approval by the Assembly. These policies will play a key supporting role to the CSI and include the requirements that solar become a standard option on all new homes and that utility companies give a million new solar customers a credit on their electric bill for excess solar power.
In light of rising energy prices and continued air pollution problems, we look forward to working with both the CPUC and the Assembly to enable California to quickly get on track to building a million solar roofs, lowering the cost of solar, and putting the power of the sun in the hands of everyday Californians.
City of Roseville to go solar (My uncle Bruce lives there)
On November 2nd, the City of Roseville, just east of Sacramento, approved a first-ever program aimed at building 20 percent of new homes with solar panels. The program will aim to build up to 4,000 solar homes in 10 years and is expected to be finalized in June 2006.
“As far as we know, this is a California first,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, Environment California’s clean energy advocate. “As rising natural gas prices hit home this winter, this is the kind of solution-oriented policy making urgently needed.”
Roseville is one of the fastest growing cities in the region, expecting to add 20,000 new homes in the next ten years. Growth will bring increased energy demands.
According to the proposal, a BEST Home would save homeowners more than $100 per year after modest rebates and with energy efficiency features. The city and ratepayers would benefit from reduced pressure to build fossil fuel power plants.
“Solar homes are a win-win for everyone,” said Del Chiaro. “We applaud Roseville’s leadership.”
Clean Energy Advocate Bernadette Del Chiaro.