Go Solar

64 organizations submit initial letter supporting solar parking lots and highways

Environmental, consumer, and other community groups support Senator Josh Becker's Senate Bill 49, encouraging solar over parking lots and along California's highways

Steven King | TPIN
A solar canopy installation in Los Angeles.

On Wednesday, Environment California submitted a letter of support signed by 64 environmental, consumer, and other community groups to Senator Josh Becker declaring support for Senate Bill 49 (SB 49). SB 49, authored by Senator Becker and sponsored by Environment California, would encourage solar canopies over parking lots and direct California to plan for solar power along its highway rights-of-way. The support letter and signers are included below.

The organizations applauded Senator Becker’s leadership in addressing the climate crisis with a common sense clean energy solution: encouraging more solar power and battery storage that will power communities throughout the state.

Existing developed areas like parking lots and highways should be used to their fullest extent to capture large amounts of solar energy. These groups agree that it’s time to use the state’s plentiful parking lots and highway rights-of-way to produce more clean energy now and help California reach its 100% clean energy goals.

Senator Becker recently participated in a legislative briefing webinar, hosted by Environment America, to outline his plan for SB 49 and discuss the effort to deploy more solar in California. He noted many benefits of this bill including how solar canopies are an efficient use of land and how they get energy close to where it is needed. Solar canopies also create family-supporting jobs, and leasing state-controlled land along highways can both save the state money and generate additional revenue.

SB 49 support letter and signers

SB 49 support letter signersPhoto by Steven King | TPIN

Dear Senator Becker,

We applaud and support your leadership in tackling the climate crisis and expanding clean energy in underutilized spaces like parking lots and along highways across the state with Senate Bill 49.

The state of California is experiencing the consequences of an energy system of the past, powered by dirty and dangerous sources that accelerate global warming while polluting the air we breathe and the communities we call home. We have the solutions as a state to transition to a clean, renewable energy system of the future for a more livable climate and a healthier environment. To make this transition possible, we must redouble our efforts to build more clean energy capacity, like solar with battery storage, throughout the state as quickly as possible.

California needs to build an unprecedented amount of new clean energy capacity, at least 6 gigawatts each year according to the California Energy Commission, to meet its goal of 100% clean energy by 2045. The state needs innovative solutions to build this much clean energy, which is why we should utilize strategic, untapped spaces throughout California to capture more energy from sunlight. Existing developed areas, like parking lots and highways, should be used to their fullest extent to capture large amounts of solar energy in the state. It’s time we used our plentiful parking lots and highway rights-of-way to produce more clean energy now. 

Between highways and parking lots, California has tremendous solar potential. About 5.5 percent of the nation’s developed land is covered by parking lots, and just in Los Angeles County, surface parking lots cover over 100 square miles. California has over 52,000 lane miles in its state highway system and over 23,000 lane miles of federal interstate highways, freeways, and expressways. These vast spots soak up the sun’s energy every day, making them ideal locations to install solar panels and put this sunlight to use.

Thank you for your leadership and for authoring this important legislation that will help California transition to clean energy and meet our climate emissions targets by 2045. Incentivizing solar over parking lots and directing the state to make a plan for solar along highways are important next steps to make sure California goes big on clean energy like solar and storage. 



Steven King, Environment California

Allie Kelly, The Ray

Roger Lin, Center for Biological Diversity

Melissa Romero, California Environmental Voters

Bill Allayaud, Environmental Working Group

Nick Jensen, California Native Plant Society

Jack Eidt, SoCal 350 Climate Action

Jenn Engstrom, CALPIRG

Ellie Cohen, The Climate Center

Janet Cox, Climate Action California

Jose Torre-Bueno, Center for Community Energy

Esperanza Vielma, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water

Gerald Meral, Natural Heritage Institute

Thomas Wheeler, Environmental Protection Information Center

Bailey Henderson, ASUC External Affairs Vice President’s Office

Andrew Carman, Environteers.org

Magi Amma, The Climate Alliance of Santa Cruz County

Eileen Mitro, Climate Action Mendocino

Pauline M Seales, Santa Cruz Climate Action Network

Kevin Hamilton, Central California Asthma Collaborative

Leah Redwood, Extinction Rebellion San Francisco Bay Area

Omega and Brenda Wilson, West End Revitalization Association (WERA)

Mikey Knab, Climate Action Campaign

Shoshana Wechsler, Sunflower Alliance

Adam Aron, Green New Deal at UC San Diego

Ector Olivares, Catholic Charities of Stockton

RL Miller, Climate Hawks Vote

Tom Benthin, Indivisible Sonoma County

Lisa Swanson, Climate Reality Project Orange County Chapter

Suzanne Hume, CleanEarth4Kids.com

Jan Dietrick, 350 Ventura County Climate Hub

Michael Wellborn, Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks

Alan Weiner, 350 Conejo / San Fernando Valley

Stuart Wood, Sustainable Claremont

Geoffrey Robinson, Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee

Cheryl Auger, Ban SUP (Single Use Plastics)

Susan Morgan, Indivisible Marin

Karinna Gonzalez, Hammond Climate Solutions Foundation

Elizabeth Chopp, San Diego 350

Jessica Craven, Feminists in Action Los Angeles

Eric Veium, SLO Climate Action

Dennis Arp, Citizens’ Climate Lobby SoCal Tri-Counties Chapter

Michael J. Painter, Californians for Western Wilderness

Laura Neish, 350 Bay Area Action

Katie Huffling, Alliance for Nurses for Healthy Environments

Chirag Bhakta, Food and Water Watch

Linda Seeley, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace

Emily Brandt, San Joaquin Valley Democratic Club

Emily Brandt, Sierra Club, Tehipite Chapter

Susan George, Progressive Zionists of California

Herb Ferrette, Little USA Community Solar Campus

David Diaz, Active San Gabriel Valley

Debbie Mytels, Peninsula Interfaith Climate Action

Teresa Bui, Pacific Environment

Jim Lindburg, Friends Committee on Legislation of California

Allis Druffel, California Interfaith Power and Light

Stefan Tongur, Electron Wireless Inc.

Jay Buys,Visceral

Gopal Chanker, Récolte Energy

Scott Borden, Emerald Blue LLC

Andrew Truman Kim, Acela Biotek

Robert Haw, Habitable Designs

Trey Ward, Direct Connect Development Company

Anne Webb, Sesame Solar

See the Campaign

Show More