While the executive branch attempts to go backward with its energy goals, progressive states continue to march forward as the California Senate passed a bill that would give consumers more access to clean energy and provide the next critical piece for California to achieve its aggressive greenhouse gas and renewable energy goals. SB 700, authored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) would increase availability of local, customer-sited energy storage for schools, farms, businesses and homes.
“In California, we are pushing aggressive renewable energy goals because we know that fighting climate change means taking action now,” said Senator Wiener. “This bill will push us down the path to 100% renewable energy. To meet our goals, we need solar, storage and other renewable energy resources in every city and neighborhood in California, not just those that can afford it. This bill will transform energy storage so that all can reap the benefits of clean, renewable energy.”
Details of the bill
SB 700 would create a 10-year rebate program designed to grow the California local storage market and make storage more affordable for consumers. The rebates would step down as more storage systems are installed and economies of scale are achieved, thereby driving down the installed cost of the systems. Local energy storage enables the integration of large amounts of renewable energy, creates value for consumers by helping them save money on energy bills, and increases grid reliability.
“Thanks to the leadership of Sen. Scott Wiener, Californians are one step closer to taking control of their clean energy future,” said Laura Gray, energy storage policy advisor with the California Solar Energy Industries Association. “This bill would allow homes, businesses, schools and public buildings to use solar and renewable energy at all hours of the day and night. Using a combination of solar and storage, consumers will make the sun shine at night.”
The bill also takes many steps to ensure Californians across the state are participating in the clean energy economy and have access to this program. Specifically, the bill would dedicate a portion of rebate funding for underserved areas and low-income households.
“The California Housing Partnership strongly supports SB 700. By setting aside 30 percent of incentives for low-income homes across the state, along with small businesses and public institutions in disadvantaged and low-income communities, this bill will empower Californians to equitably share in the benefits of energy storage,” said Stephanie Wang, policy director for the California Housing Partnership. “By prioritizing projects that will receive AB 693 Multifamily Affordable Housing Solar Roofs incentives, this bill will also support the long-term success of a key solar program for low-income California renters.”
The bill passed by a vote of 23 to 13 in the Senate. The bill now moves to the State Assembly.
— Solar Builder magazine