Solar Bill Passes California Assembly

Yesterday, June 6, the California General Assembly approved the Solar Water Heating and Efficiency Act of 2007 (AB 1470), which would create a $250 million ten-year program to provide consumer rebates for solar water heating systems, essentially the nation’s largest solar water heating program.

Authored by Assembly member Jared Huffman and sponsored by Environment California, the bill is supported by hundreds of organizations and businesses, and promises to again expand California’s market for clean, renewable energy. AB 1470 now heads to the State Senate to be heard in the Energy and Commerce Committee in June or early July.

AB 1470, which would complement the Million Solar Roofs bill (SB 1 – Murray) signed into law last year that promotes solar electric technologies, would also create new jobs in California from both an increase in both installation and manufacturing of solar water heating systems.

“For decades we’ve manufactured solar water heating systems within the state for practically every market outside California,” said Freeman Ford, member of the California Solar Energy Industry Association (CALSEIA) and Founder of FAFCO, a large solar water heating manufacturer based in Chico. “Due to a lack of government support, California has fallen behind in utilizing solar power. With AB 1470, however, California could again take the lead in the solar water heating market.”

“California needs more solar power if we are going to solve global warming and achieve true energy independence,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, Clean Energy Advocate for Environment California, sponsor of AB 1470. “We applaud the California Assembly for supporting this no-brainer solution to our energy and environmental problems. With this bill, California is once again leading the nation with real, viable clean energy solutions and taking another giant step toward becoming the Saudi Arabia of the sun.”

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