Culver City – On the roof of a solar-powered roof Macy’s in Culver City, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an important solar power bill today that was seen as a critical component of the state’s million solar roofs initiative. The bill, AB 510, authored by Assembly member Nancy Skinnner, raised the cap on net metering to 5% from its previous level of 2.5%.
“Solar power is the bright spot in California’s economy,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro of Environment California. “This bill is putting solar in the hands of more California families and businesses to help them save money and do their part to protect the environment.”
AB 510 lifted the cap on net metering to 5%. Prior legislation passed in 2006, SB 1, had lifted the cap to 2.5% from the previous level of 0.5%. Net metering is a policy that allows solar owners to send unused solar electricity back to the grid in exchange for a credit that offsets electricity consumed at times when the sun isn’t out. Prior to today, the number of Californians able to take advantage of this net metering program was capped at 2.5% of a utility’s load. In other words, as soon as a utility gets 2.5% of its electricity from net metered solar customers, they would no longer be obligated to sign new net metering contracts. AB 510 essentially doubles the number of people able to go solar in California.
“Ten years ago, California had 500 solar roofs throughout the state,” said Del Chiaro. “Today there are over 60,000, the majority of which have been installed in the last three years. But the cap needs to ultimately be lifted in California if we are to truly realize our full solar power potential.”
Assembly member Nancy Skinner was present at today’s bill signing ceremony as was representatives of the Solar Alliance, Vote Solar, Global Green and several solar companies including Sun Power.