Gov. Schwarzenegger Applauds Senate Passage of Bill to Fix Solar Program

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday applauded the Senate’s passage of AB 1714 that will fix an unintended flaw in legislation passed last year to complete his Million Solar Roofs plan. AB 1714 must still pass the Assembly before going to the Governor for final approval.

“I am very pleased that we have bipartisan support to fix this important program that will greatly expand solar energy in California. By expanding its use in homes and businesses across our state, we can help fight greenhouse gases while bringing more jobs to California,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “This legislation will correct an unintended flaw in last year’s legislation so we can immediately work to maximize Californians’ participation in the program.”

Earlier this month, Governor Schwarzenegger announced that he is sponsoring legislation to fix the program, administered by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which provides financial incentives to home and business owners to install solar systems to reduce electricity demand in California, helping to ensure an adequate supply and protect the environment.

To expedite the passage of urgency legislation, the Governor worked with a bipartisan group of legislators including Assemblymembers Lloyd Levine, Bonnie Garcia, John Benoit and Senators Christine Kehoe, Bob Dutton and Jim Battin to quickly introduce a bill that fixes the problem. The Governor has also worked with utilities, environmental groups and other stakeholders to craft the agreement.

The unintended problem is related to the current statutory requirement for Time of Use rates for electricity customers that install solar systems. The solution allows the CPUC to temporarily change the rate structure for solar systems installed since January 1, 2007. The legislation, which will also allow the CPUC to offer rebates or credits to ratepayers impacted by the current rate structure, must be signed into law by June 6, 2007, to allow the CPUC to take action at its next regularly scheduled meeting.
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