California Net Metering Bill Signed by Governor Schwarzenegger

Assembly Bill 510, authored by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D–Berkeley), which increased California’s net metering cap passed with bipartisan support by votes of 27-5 in the Senate and 61-4 in the Assembly and was signed late last week by Governor Schwarzenegger.

Current law caps the amount of electricity that can be generated under the net metering program to 2.5% of a utility’s peak demand. AB 510 raises the net metering cap to 5% and will help meet projected demands received under the California Solar Initiative program.

“The Governor’s signature signals to the over one thousand solar contractors and companies doing business in California that our solar market is stable and ready for investment,” said Assemblymember Skinner. “California is continuing to let the sunshine in to produce affordable, local power for our businesses, schools and public facilities and homes.”

Skinner also said out that with more than 30 job years per megawatt installed, solar energy is helping California create thousands of jobs including solar equipment manufacturing, engineering facilities, and construction jobs associated with the installation of and on-going maintenance of these systems.

Net metering has no direct impact on the state’s general fund and allows government agencies and schools to have an incentive to install solar. California public agencies have already installed at least 51 megawatts (MW) of solar, saving taxpayers more than US $270 million in avoided utility payments.

“Net metering makes solar more affordable for those who want to make the investment in clean energy. And because solar produces reliable power during peak hours when we all need it most, that same investment in solar helps lower costs for all ratepayers. Today, Assemblymember Skinner and the legislature took a bold step to make solar a significant part of our energy future,” said Adam Browning, executive director of the Vote Solar Initiative.


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