Community solar advocates are applauding the California Senate Budget Committee for proposing a $400 million community solar and storage investment in the updated Budget and Fiscal Review, released on May 25.
Earlier this week, a coalition of environmental and environmental justice advocates submitted a letter to legislative leadership, requesting the $400 million appropriation from Clean Energy Reliability Investment Plan (CERIP) funding. The groups specifically urged the legislature to fund projects that deliver bill savings for low-income customers and increase local reliability in low-income and marginalized communities.
Community solar and storage expands access to affordable solar by allowing all utility customers — regardless of housing type — to subscribe to a solar array and receive direct credits off their utility bills for renewable energy generated. Last September, California passed the landmark Assembly Bill 2316, which opened a process to create a community solar and storage program and requires 51% of program capacity to serve low-income customers. Solar and equity advocates celebrated the bill’s potential to accelerate the state’s clean energy transition, while bringing financial relief to those struggling with disproportionately high energy bills and utility debt. While the program is currently being debated and designed at the California Public Utilities Commission, advocates are requesting state funding to support enhanced equity benefits of any new community solar and storage program and make California more competitive for securing funding from the $7 billion “Solar for All” pot exclusively earmarked for expanding solar access for low-income and disadvantaged communities.
“The $400 million funding will help us build on the enormous potential of AB 2316, bringing affordable solar and storage within reach for many more California families,” said Stephanie Doyle, California Regulatory Director for Vote Solar. “Thank you to the Senate Budget Committee for recognizing the need for bold investments in equitable and impactful clean energy solutions. This commitment will help California secure federal investments that can help expand access and benefits for more Californians.”
Governor Newsom and the state assembly are currently considering their own “budget trailer bills,” which in California refers to bills that implement policies outlined in the state budget. The bills will be negotiated and final versions will be voted on before the legislative session ends in September.
“This proposed commitment from the Senate will go a long way in helping frontline communities to access clean energy. The Governor and the state assembly should follow their lead and champion environmental justice by approving a $400 million appropriation from the CERIP funding for community solar and storage,” said Alexis Sutterman, energy equity program manager at the California Environmental Justice Alliance. “California is far behind other states in community solar and storage when it should be leading. Community solar and storage is a critical pathway to reliably retire polluting peaker gas plants and bring bill savings and improved air quality to low-income and environmental justice communities.”
News item from Vote Solar
Cannot agree, “Governor Newsom and the state assembly are currently considering their own “budget trailer bills,” which in California refers to bills that implement policies outlined in the state budget. The bills will be negotiated and final versions will be voted on before the legislative session ends in September.”
It is these “trailer (trash) bills” that have been hidden in other bills, voted on and passed. In the past these have sold debt or bonds to the California public then put this money into the General fund where it is doled out for privileged projects. For instance way back in the ‘day’, Series ‘A’ bonds were sold for California roads repair and maintenance. This money was put into the California general fund and some went to roads maintenance and repair projects. It also appears a large portion of this money was funneled to the “schools”, in particular funneled into shoring up the CalSTRS teachers retirement system. The proffering of AB 2316 as a boon for EJC, Environmental Justice Communities. Let’s look at what they’re saying. $400 million for EJC in California. (IF) one parses down to what it takes for say distributed solar + storage in these communities on individual homes, a 6kWp solar PV system and a modest 10kWh TESLA ESS would cost about $30K installed for each system. With the Federal ITC around $21K after ITC. Divide that up into $400M and you get 19,047 installations. How many EJC communities does California have? Yeah, just Imperial Valley in California would eat up this fund and three to four times more like it. IF one creates one large grid edge solar PV farm with on site energy storage, who pays for the grid infrastructure that needs to be in place to distribute 51% of this energy to EJC communities? In these communities when a natural gas or coal fired plant is decommissioned, who pays for the “stranded assets” on their monthly electric bills?
What the residential consumers end up with is the take $100 dollars out of the right pants pocket and put it in the left pants pocket. Need more money, take the money out of the left pants pocket and put it back in the right hand pants pocket. This is nothing more than the washing machine of “activism” without shame or “progress”.