California Remains Clean Energy King With New Solar Initiatives

California continues to lead the way for the US in the alternative energy revolution.  Arnie Schwarzenegger has signed two new laws and an agreement with the US Dept of Interior to speed development of solar and other alternative energy projects in the coming years. 

One is AB 920 which requires utilities to pay consumers for solar electricity that they generate over and above their home needs instead of capturing it for their own profit.  The California Public Utilities Commission will be responsible for setting the rates consumers will receive. 

The other is SB 32 which creates a feed-in tariff requiring utilities to buy solar power at a set rate above market price over the course of 20 years from smaller solar power producers (up to 3MW).   

It’s believed that Sunpower (SPWRA) will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of this legislation and FBR Capital analyst Mehdi Hosseini said the new subsidies could be explosive for the industry.  He estimates the tariff could be between 15-17 cents/kw hour and could spur development of 500MW of additional solar rooftop systems next year.

Sunpower (SPWRA) closed up more than 4% today while the solar sector as a whole closed up modestly higher.  The Claymore Global Solar Energy ETF (TAN) was up just over 2% while the Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF (KWT) closed up just over 3%. 

3 thoughts on “California Remains Clean Energy King With New Solar Initiatives”

  1. What great news! This has been an urban myth with our customers for years now–that the utility would pay them for their excess electricity. We have sadly informed them that it just wasn’t true. And now, it is true!
    If your solar PV system produces more energy than you consume in 12 months, you will be paid for it.
    Passing this bill adds to the great solar incentives already in place for homeowners all over the state.

  2. Losing the profits for excess energy, I believe, is the main reason many Californians are reluctant to invest in solar energy. Receiving payment for unused solar power will help return the initial investment more quickly and attract more solar energy buyers. Thanks for the article!

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