Assembly Bill 327 Attempts to Derail California’s Solar Industry
SAN DIEGO (August 28, 2013) – Local elected officials, environmentalists and activists gathered on the steps of Sempra Energy’s headquarters today to protest Assembly Bill 327 (AB327), backed by California’s investor-owned utilities. The message delivered: the California Senate needs to amend AB 327, adding language to maintain the existing legal protections for solar homeowners, businesses and schools otherwise the bill must be killed.
“Assembly Bill 327 directly contradicts over 20 years of smart public policy support for renewable energy and distributed generation solar,” said Dianne Jacob, vice-chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors, “It pulls the rug out from under homeowners, businesses, schools and municipalities that have responded to the call to conserve energy, produce energy and become more energy efficient.”
California, America’s top solar state, has over 150,000 solar power systems installed and the owners of these systems have collectively invested hundreds of millions of dollars in solar power. These clean energy producers range from homeowners, small businesses, schools and municipalities. Former California Assemblymember and Sierra Club San Diego chair, Lori Saldana, noted that AB 327 in its current state would increase greenhouse gas emissions and discourage energy efficient upgrades.
The collective group at the protest stated the way this bill is currently structured would completely change the economics of solar, financially hurting the entities who already went solar while discouraging anyone from going solar in the future. This legislation would also put jobs at stake for the 44,000 Californian’s employed in the solar industry, per the group.
"California's solar industry is about much more than saving money on utility bills, it’s about our future, it’s about creating a sustainable region for our children and grandchildren, it’s about reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and it’s about our new energy economy and the jobs we are creating each and every day while making the world a better place,” said Daniel Sullivan, founder and president of Sullivan Solar Power, and founding board member of San Diego California Solar Industries Energy Association (CALSEIA), “It’s high time the utilities get with the program and accept the fact rooftop solar is here to stay. We aren’t going away and we will not allow our future to be derailed by bad policies like those proposed in AB327."
The group has launched a petition site (www.saveoursolar.com) which targets State Senators urging them to kill the bill unless it is amended.
Utilities argue rate reform is needed to address issues with the CARE low income assistance program which will result in less people enrolling and to reduce the costs paid by large residential ratepayers.