California Passes Law Securing Future of Rooftop Solar

The California Assembly unanimously passed a piece of legislation today that secures the future of the solar industry in the state.

With a vote of 65 to 0, AB 327 waits only for a signature from Governor Jerry Brown to become law.

The legislation was one of the last pieces to pass through California’s assembly before the session ends later today. It garnered bi-partisan support, as well as support from recently conflicted parties representing the utility companies and the solar industry.

The bill was initially met with extreme opposition from solar industry advocates since it was proposed by the state’s utility companies as a rate reform bill that would allow the California Public Utilities Commission to consider the option of a flat residential utility rate, something solar advocates felt would damage the financial benefits of going solar for both the highest and lowest utility users.

Amendments to the bill, however, made the legislation popular with both sides.  

“This bill, with the amendments, removes numerous artificial regulatory barriers to solar adoption,” said Bryan Miller, President of TASC and Vice President for Public Policy at solar leasing company Sunrun.

Solar advocates from organizations like VoteSolar and the Solar Energy Industries Association also supported the amended bill.

The legislation will:

  • Remove the current suspension on net metering that would've gone into effect at the end of this year.
  • Eliminate uncertainly over how the current net metering cap is calculated.
  • Provide a framework for removing the net metering cap altogether.
  • Provide certainty that net metering customers’ investment expectations are respected.
  • Remove the 33 percent ceiling on the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. This means the 33 percent becomes a floor, not a ceiling.

“AB 327 recognizes that net metering is smart policy and should continue in California without restrictions,” said Randy Bishop, a TASC member and CEO and co-Founder of Verengo. “With this bill, our state’s leaders are helping ensure all Californians have the choice of using clean solar energy.“