James Montgomery, Associate Editor, RenewableEnergyWorld.com
October 08, 2013 | 5 Comments
New Hampshire, USA -- It's official: California governor Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown has signed Assembly Bill 327, which addresses several topics critical to solar energy in the nation's biggest solar energy state: extending net metering and the renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS).
Last month the bill easily passed the state Senate and Assembly with wide margins. Announcing his signing of the bill, Governor Jerry Brown specifically added a message to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) about grandfathering current net metering customers prior to reaching the cap by July 2017.
In its initial form, AB-327 was criticized for its language that would have empowered utilities to flatten their rate structures while also charging consumers flat monthly fees, seen as squarely targeting rooftop solar growth in the state. But after several revisions the bill emerged with broad support, with four key items:
We spoke with Bryan Miller, president of The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), when the bill was passing through the legislature on its way to the Governor's desk. "The bill is definitely a model for other states," Miller said. California has led most of the country on the issue of net metering caps, and as the net metering debate intensifies (hello Arizona!) the largest solar state "will continue to show itself as a best practice for net metering," he said. Also important in AB-327 is allowing CPUC to consider billing for the minimum amount of electricity used, vs. a fixed charge that amounts to a penalty that discourages energy conservation.
"The industry has had a unified voice on this," Miller pointed out. That, with strong leadership in the legislature and the governor to bring all sides together to find solutions, "is a model in itself to resolve these kinds of disputes."
Lead image: We are champions, via Shutterstock