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California Seeks A Million Solar Roofs by 2018

| Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 9, 2005 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

In late February, California Governor Schwarzenegger’s office released the details of the California Million Solar Roofs bills (SB 1 and SB 1017). The two bills together will create a ten-year incentive program to help Californians install one million solar electric rooftops on homes and businesses throughout the state by 2018.

In a previous story in Democratic Energy, we covered the study done for the Vote Solar Initiative that quantified the enormous value of on-peak solar power in California. The study found that solar installations in California have a value ranging from 23.1 to 35.2 cents per kilowatt hour.

The Governor’s Million Solar Roofs Initiative would do the following:

SB 1 – Full Text:
This bill would establish the Million Solar Roofs Initiative, administered by the Energy Commission, with the goals of placing 1,000,000 solar energy systems, as defined, on new and existing residential and commercial customer sites, or its generation capacity equivalent of 3,000 megawatts, and placing solar energy systems on 50 percent of new homes within 13 years. The bill would establish the Million Solar Roofs Initiative Trust Fund and would continuously appropriate moneys deposited into the fund to the Energy Commission for purposes of carrying out the Million Solar Roofs Initiative.

Other provisions:

  • directs the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to provide funding and support, through a self-generated incentive program, for the installation of solar energy systems on new and existing residential and commercial sites.
  • directs new residential home developers of more than 50 units to offer solar systems to customers by 2010.
  • raises the cap on net metering installations to 5 percent of a utility’s total electricity sales.
  • Rebates to homes and businesses installing solar energy systems would initially lower the cost of installation from about $13,000 to $8,500 but would decrease over time, ending no later than the end of 2016.

    SB 1017 – Full Text:
    This bill will provide a tax credit for solar systems by extending the existing incentive that was set to expire at the end of this year. There will be a 7.5 percent tax credit for every dollar spent on a solar system above and beyond the rebate received from state or federal sources. There is a property tax provision that prevents property reassessment upon the installation of a solar system.


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    About John Farrell

    John Farrell directs the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he develops tools that allow communities to take charge of their energy future, and pursue the maximum economic benefits of the transition to 100% renewable power. More

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