Patrick Crowley

Patrick Crowley
Head of Sales & Operations

Rex Kehoe

Rex Kehoe
Director of Installers

California’s New Solar Bill of Rights

February 23, 2019

In this week’s livestream, we’re covering California’s new Solar Bill of Rights. California is in the news quite a bit lately with new legislation with solar which mandates solar for all new homes that are built in 2020 and beyond.

california solar law

Solar Bill of Rights: 

It is a new bipartisan bill that has been proposed by State Senators Scott Wiener (D – San Francisco) and Jim Nielsen (R – Fresno). It is good to see the factors benefitting the environment, grid resiliency, and things that support our infrastructure are actually creeping up towards the top with these agendas.

california solar law

The Solar Bill of Rights would be a game-changer for residential and commercial solar. The three key features of this bill are:

  1. No discriminatory utility fee for having solar
    1. In states like Arizona and New Mexico, they have yet stopped the adoption of solar. But they made it very difficult for someone to go solar. With utilities not knowing how to handle the influx of solar, they introduced fees for going solar which can be considered as a huge obstacle and almost killed the savings.
    2. But with the new Solar Bill of Rights, homeowners would be guaranteed fundamental rights to self-generate and store renewable energy without discriminatory utility fees. With this bill, there is no discriminatory fee applied to homeowners by the utilities.
  2. Streamlining utility interconnection process
    1. You have gone solar before and you probably noticed that with your utility there is a delay from when your system is actually installed and until the utility actually allows you to turn it on. This is called permission to operate or PTO.
    2. There is an interconnection process that you have to go through the utility before they allow you to flip the switch. The time taken for this process depends on your utility. Some utilities would get that turned on within a day while it takes the others 4 to 6 weeks.
    3. This law would want utilities to follow a state-mandated, streamlined process for connecting new solar arrays to the grid.
  3. Fair compensation to export stored power to the grid
    1. This is about home battery storage systems.
    2. One of the big things that California also did recently is they have expanded funding to the SGIP program (Self-Generation Incentive Program). It is a rebate program that gave out incentives to install battery storage.
    3. One of the things that are going to be contingent upon homeowners or on the property is getting that funding is likely going to be their ability to help supply the grid when the grid needs help.
    4. The new law would enable home batteries to receive fair compensation from the utility for exporting power to the grid and improving community resiliency.

Implementation – Timeline 

The timeline of the implementation is as follows:

California Solar Law

  • June 1, 2020: Submitting annual reports on utilities’ performance.
  • January 1, 2021: Storage compensation incentives are announced where home battery owners are incentivized to export stored electricity to the grid.

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