The California Solar Energy Industries Association (CAL SEIA) has released a legislative alert regarding a proposed Assembly Republican Budget which they say targets all of the California Energy Commission (CEC) funding for solar and other renewable energy programs. The organization is urging concerned businesses and individuals to contact their California representatives to prevent what they say could have dire consequences for renewable energy in California.Sacramento, California – July 16, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] According to CAL SEIA, the proposal reduces ratepayer funds at the CEC each year for the next five years: 1) ERPA by US$11 million (electric surcharge for each electric customer that funds the majority of CEC programs) 2) Renewable Trust Fund Account by US$61 million (PV rebate program) 3) PIER US$69 million (R & D funds) “These proposed Assembly Republican cuts will terminate the entire CEC solar rebate program (systems less than 30 kW) which will destroy the foundation of the photovoltaic (PV) industry,” said CAL SEIA. The organization is urging concerned citizens and businesses to contact their local Legislators (Assembly and Senate) in California and let them know how important these programs are for the solar industry and renewable energy businesses. At the bottom of this story Cal SEIA, and SolarAccess.com have provided links to downloadable lists of Assembly members, Senate members, and a draft-letter to facilitate feedback and response. Cal SEIA said they would participate in a press conference today in the Capitol that will focus on environment and public health issues as substantial cuts are being proposed that will significantly impact air quality, water quality and parks programs in this state. Cal SEIA will emphasize how significant the cuts are for the industry as well as identify job and sales tax losses for the state. Frequent updates will be provided as this budget process is very unpredictable. The Senate version of the budget may come out this week. No one in the Senate has targeted solar funding programs for cuts but the organization stresses that the process must be watched very carefully. Cal SEIA’s Solar Message: – Solar technologies (both PV and thermal applications) are a growth industry for California’s economy, providing important local economic and environmental benefits: – Clean electricity and heat —- zero emissions – Grid stability improvements and reduction of transmission and distribution line losses – Peak demand reduction (most costly and polluting form of energy) – Less reliance on natural gas, providing for increased price stability in electric and gas rates; – Real jobs and sales tax revenues; – Sustainable industry for present and future economy; and the – Solar rebates are matched dollar for dollar by private investment thus doubling the value of these rebates to the economy. For more information contact Jan McFarland, Executive Director for CAL SEIA at [email protected], phone at 916-340-2605, or through the organization’s link below.