Surplus Solar Bill Passes State Assembly

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Environment California

Sacramento – Californians can expect a more consumer friendly solar power market if a bill that passed the California State Assembly today becomes law.  Assembly bill 920, authored by Jared Huffman (D-Marin) and sponsored by Environment California, passed the full assembly today with bipartisan support, 51-26. The bill would require utilities to pay individuals for surplus solar power produced at a home, government building or business reducing the disincentive for many Californians’ to invest in solar power and encouraging greater energy efficiency and solar power.   

“If California wants to become the Saudi Arabia of the sun, we have to remove all barriers to going solar,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, clean energy advocate with Environment California. “This bill will encourage not just more solar power but conservation and efficiency as well.”

AB 920 will enable consumers who produce solar power to get paid by their utility company for any surplus electricity they produce on an annual basis.  The level of compensation would be set by the Public Utilities Commission and would help the utility meet their renewable energy goals mandated by state law. 

Under current law, a consumer with solar panels can reduce their utility bill to $0 through what is called “net metering” where they get a credit for all the electricity generated by their system during the day. This credit goes to offset electricity used at night and is calculated on an annual basis. If the consumer generates a surplus amount of power at the end of the year, however, that electricity goes to the utility for free.  AB 920 would simply give consumers fair compensation for surplus power at the end of each year.

“This bill idea came to me from several of my constituents,” said Assemblymember Jared Huffman. “I think the idea we chose creates strong benefits for both consumers and the environment.”

AB 920 would help California reach its Million Solar Roofs goal by encouraging more consumers to invest in solar power.