California’s Solar Bill of Rights has been gutted by lawmakers


From pv magazine USA.

Looking at the current version of the Solar Bill of Rights (S288) on the website of the California Assembly, one thing is obvious: a lot of red lines through whole sections of the text. The following parts of the legislation have been removed:

  • Explicit protection for PV system owners against discriminatory fees;
  • The removal of barriers preventing the participation of rooftop solar and batteries in California’s wholesale markets;
  • The requirement utilities create tariffs to value customer-sited renewable systems and batteries, to recognize their resiliency benefits;
  • And the requirement state regulators consider tariffs to value the grid reliability and greenhouse gas reduction benefits of solar and energy storage.

Among the little content left in the current version of the bill is a requirement for utilities to set up streamlined and standardized interconnection for rooftop solar and other forms of customer-sited renewable energy and batteries. However, the requirement state bodies oversee the establishment of such standards has been removed, as has the requirement for regulators to produce detailed reports on the progress of interconnecting renewables, including how long it is taking to get systems connected.

That last part could be crucial in relation to utilities such as the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which critics accuse of holding back rooftop solar and slowing battery deployment in Los Angeles with its slow permitting process.

Who? What? When?

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It is not clear exactly when the California Senate gutted what could have been a landmark piece of legislation. The assembly website states the newly amended version was authored on Friday, a day after it passed the Senate Appropriations Committee by a vote of 4-2. However, the site also states the bill was amended in appropriations and on the floor.

The California Senate appears ready to pass the shadow bill as it quickly made it through a second reading. However, there is no mention of who wielded the ax, and renewable energy advocates have been reticent, pending political maneuvering. Not everyone is prepared to meekly accept the watering down of the bill, however, and the Solar Rights Alliance has a call to action on its website.

pv magazine will continue to report on development of the Solar Bill of Rights, including the politics behind it, as more information becomes available.

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