Governor Schwarzenegger to release million solar roofs bill

SAN FRANSISCO, March 3, 2005 — On Monday February 28, Governor Schwarzenegger’s office released the details of the California Million Solar Roofs bill (SB1). The bill creates a ten year incentive program to help Californians install one million solar electric rooftops on homes and businesses throughout the state over the next 13 years.

“This is the biggest piece of solar legislation ever introduced in the United States and it makes sense because California is the Saudi Arabia of sunlight”, said David Hochschild, Director of Policy for the Vote Solar Initiative. “This bill helps our state use one of our best natural resources, the sun, to meet one of our biggest needs – energy.”

Today, the Vote Solar Initiative, a non-profit solar policy organization, is releasing a new study that quantifies the value of on-peak solar power for California. The study found that the value of California’s on-peak solar energy in 2005 ranges from 23.1 to 35.2 cents per kilowatt hour. Because solar energy systems produce electricity during peak demand periods, increased deployment of solar energy benefits all ratepayers by reducing the amount of expensive and polluting peak power that utilities must procure, trimming the state’s reliance on volatile markets for imported fossil fuels. The study, “Quantifying the Benefits of Solar Power for California”, is available
at http://www.votesolar.org/ under the “Tools” section.

The Governor’s Million Solar Roofs bill would do the following:

– create a ten year incentive program to install 3000 megawatts of solar electricity across the state, equivalent to approximately 40 peaking power plants

– require new home developers to offer solar systems to customers by 2010

– increase the state’s net metering cap to 5%

The solar incentive program created by this bill is based on the model Japan pioneered in 1994. Since then, the Japanese have brought down the average cost of residential solar energy systems by 72% as the solar industry developed economies of scale and increased efficiency.

As a result, today Japan has installed over 250,000 solar energy systems and has emerged as the world leader in the solar industry, employing over 11,000 people in Japan. Currently, California is the world’s third largest market for solar energy after Japan and Germany. The Million Solar Roof’s Initiative is expected to position the state to challenge the Japan and Germany as world leaders in solar energy. The state has about 20% more annual sunlight than Japan and 40% more than Germany.

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