Rooftop, Solar

City of Santa Cruz gets Behind Million Solar Roofs Bill

It’s meant for roofs, but whole cities are getting behind California’s proposed comprehensive solar legislation. At this week’s regularly scheduled meeting, the Santa Cruz City Council became the first city in California to endorse SB 1, the Million Solar Roofs Bill.

SB 1, co-authored by Senator Kevin Murray (D-LA) and Senator John Campbell (R-Orange County) and recently joined by Assemblyman John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), would make California the world’s largest market for solar power, aiming to build half of all new homes with solar panels and installing 3,000 MW of solar power over the next ten years. “In a world beset by many problems, the issue of global warming certainly rises somewhere near the top,” said Mayor Mike Rotkin, who officially submitted the SB 1 support resolution. “I think this bill provides a very real and tangible way that those of us who live in California can do something about this.” California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is a key proponent of this legislation and offered up the initial proposal weeks ago. This version is different from a similar proposal supported by the Governor last year, which failed to pass. This year’s legislation, say industry analysts, has a better chance of becoming law. Some of the key elements of SB 1 include: – Directive to the California Public Utilities Commission to create a program aimed at building one million solar roofs on residential and commercial buildings equaling 3,000 MW and building half of all new homes with solar panels by 2018 – Create 10 years of certainty for solar incentives such as buy-downs and tax rebates – Require utility companies buy-back excess electricity generated by a rooftop solar system – Provide for additional incentives for low-income and affordable housing developments “California’s cities were the hardest hit during the California energy crisis so it makes sense that it would be cities joining the statewide effort to invest in clean, renewable energy resources such as solar power,” said Dmitri Zavorotny, with the California Public Interest Research Group UC Santa Cruz student chapter who worked with the City Council to pass this resolution. Bernadette Del Chiaro, clean energy advocate for Environment California, the lead sponsor of the bill, called it the “biggest environmental bill under consideration this year, and is a policy unparalleled anywhere in the United States.” A copy of the resolution can be found under the archives section for the March 22, 2005 meeting at the following link.