utility-meter-bigThe California State Assembly passed AB 510, a bill to raise the cap on a key solar policy called “net metering.” Net metering is a simple billing arrangement that allows solar customers to get fair retail credit for the excess electricity their systems generate during daytime hours. Having passed the Senate last week, the bill now needs the Governor’s signature to become law.

Existing law requires California’s major electric utilities to make net metering available to customers on a first-come-first-served basis until the total program capacity exceeds 2.5 percent of the utility’s peak demand. AB 510 doubles the net metering program capacity to five percent, ensuring that Californians continue to have fair access to this critical solar program for the near term.

Through net metering, solar customers’ electricity meters to spin forward when they are using power from the utility grid, and reverse,spinning backward when customers are producing more energy than they are using. The customer is billed only for the net energy used. More than 50,000 California homes, schools and businesses take advantage of the state’s net metering program to lower their utility bills.

California leads the nation in solar energy, accounting for more than 65 percent of the all the solar installed in the U.S. Net metering has been absolutely fundamental to that success.
— California Assemblymember and Bill Author Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley)

“California leads the nation in solar energy, accounting for more than 65 percent of the all the solar installed in the U.S. Net metering has been absolutely fundamental to that success,” said bill author Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley). “The passage of this bill means continued green job growth, further energy bill savings, progress in the fight against climate change, and a brighter future for California.”

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Adam Browning, executive director of the Vote Solar Initiative, a national grassroots advocacy organization agreed, noting that, “Net metering makes solar more affordable for those who want to make the investment in clean energy.”

According to VoteSolar.org and the Solar Alliance, organizations that work to promote solar in California, California public agencies have installed at least 51 MW of solar, saving taxpayers more than $270 million in avoided utility payments.

The Solar Alliance is a state-focused association of solar equipment manufacturers, integrators and financiers working with state administrators, legislators and utilities to establish cost-effective solar policies and programs. The Vote Solar Initiative is a grassroots non-profit organization working to combat climate change and foster economic development by bringing solar energy into the mainstream.

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