Million Solar Roofs Bill Passes Senate Committee

The Million Solar Roofs Bill, SB 1, passed Senate Appropriations Committee this week by a vote of eight to five with no members abstaining. This is another hurdle cleared for the bill as it approaches the possibility of a full legislative assembly vote.

The broad solar bill, co-authored by State Senators Kevin Murray (D-Los Angeles) and John Campbell (R-Orange County) and endorsed by Governor Schwarzenegger, could have an enormous impact in the state in terms of bolstering solar energy use throughout the state. “Thursday’s vote is a hard fought victory that is the result of a growing coalition of groups working hard to bring solar energy into the mainstream,” said David Hochschild, Director of Policy at the Vote Solar Initiative. “Leadership on solar energy is really happening at the state level, rather than in Washington DC, which is why the Million Solar Roofs bill is so important. The bill is expected to come up for a vote on the Senate Floor next week, where it needs to pass to move onto California’s full assembly. It’s still a ways to go, though, says Hochschild, who expects the bill, if enacted, to have wide ranging effects. “And as challenging as it can be to pass a piece of legislation like this, bold ideas are contagious and we hope that if we’re successful in passing the bill, other states will follow suit,” Hochschild said. Although it’s faced it’s detractors, like homebuilders, the bill has won support from a wide array of interests. A broad-based coalition of businesses, environmental, and consumer groups testified in favor of the Million Solar Roof’s initiative at Monday’s committee hearing. “We are pleased to see this bill continuing to move forward with strong legislative support,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, Clean Energy Advocate with Environment California, a non-profit environmental group. “The loud public support for solar power, and the energy stability and clean air it will bring the state, continues to move this bill closer to the governor’s desk.”

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