Bill passed by state legislature encourages solar growth
March 26, 2008
Filed under The Plug
Solar energy and Kern County have always gone hand in hand with each other, but lately, with the governor’s push to become a more energy efficient state, solar energy has become more than just a bright idea.
Nearly two years ago, on August 21, 2006, Gov.Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a document called Senate Bill 1. In this bill was the layout for establishing the California Solar Initiative.
The overall goal of the California Solar Initiative, according to the Web site gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov, is to “help build a self-sustaining photovoltaic, solar electricity market.”
The California Solar Initiative manages to accomplish this by establishing a goal, to have generated 3,000 new megawatts of solar energy by 2017. The California Solar Initiative also sets aside large amounts of funds to be used as incentives for people who decide to switch their house or business over to solar energy.
Incentives are given away for installing solar by both the state government and PG&E, and depending on the size of the system in question, incentives are given away in two different ways.
For solar energy systems under 100 kilowatts, like residential units, the incentive is a one-shot deal, and the amount distributed is based upon a prediction of how much energy the system is expected to make, judged upon location, tilt, and shading of the panels.
For systems over 100 kilowatts, incentives are awarded monthly based upon the performance records the system has given over the last 5 years. However, starting in 2010, all solar energy systems over 30 kilowatts will be given incentives based on the energy produced.
To add to the normal state issued incentives, PG&E also awards money for any excess energy produced by residential or commercial owned solar energy systems.
The California Solar Initiative also set another goal for solar energy production. The CSI allotted 3.3 billion dollars to ensure that by 2017 a million houses in California had solar panels atop their roofs.
The Kern County College District is doing its part to help as well. The Cerro Coso Community College campus, in June 2004, finished their 6 1/2 acre, 1 megawatt solar photovoltaic field. The field itself cost $8.9 million and received a $4.5 million rebate from the California Public Utilities Commission.
Many new housing developments will begin to have solar modules installed from the initial construction due to the establishment of the New Solar Homes Partnership by the Governor. The NSHP was also created under the California Solar Initiative and was given $400 million to allocate as incentives.
Many of the new houses being built under the NSHP guidelines will have solar systems ranging to the one hundred square foot, 1 kilowatt model. While installing the 1 kilowatt model usually costs from 9,000 to 15,000 dollars, having it preset in the housing would significantly lower the price.