Homeowners and solar installers have a reason to be be happy. Last year, California Governor Schwartzenegger signed AB 920 knows as the California Solar Surplus Act. AB 920 forces utility companies to pay homeowners for the extra solar electricity they produce. Up until this time, the best homeowners could do is zero out their uitlity costs, hence the term, NET metering.
Though the bill was inacted January 1 of this this year, how much homeowners would be paid for excess solar power produced has been slow to become established. Rates are being determined by the California Public Utilities Commission and it is not a surprise they are well below retail. Well, its starting to happen. Riverside California has established a rate. We are starting to see other utility companies in California and other states come on board.
Solar panels have environmental benefits, to be sure: They can produce electricity without emitting carbon or other harmful gases into the air. But, for many households, municipalities and businesses, the economic benefits that solar provides are even more important.
In Riverside, California, for example, homeowners who installed or plan to install solar panels received good news recently. Due to a recently enacted state law, households or businesses that produce more solar power than they use can receive a cash credit at the end of the year from their utility. (Source Get Solar)
Beginning next year, homes and businesses who generate more clean power than they consume will receive 6 cents for every kilowatt-hour of energy they send back to the grid. That’s about what utilities pay for power on the wholesale market.
Hawaii, too, is looking to go solar for both economic and environmental reasons. The island state wants to preserve its pristine natural resources but it also has the nation’s highest energy costs. Going solar, then, is a win-win for the Aloha State.
That’s why the state government has fulfillment plans to put 1,000 solar panels in place on the Honolulu building that houses its Department of Accounting and General Services. Governor Linda Lingle’s office announced the plan on December 2. The 236-kilowatt solar array, her office said, will offset the emissions of 500,000 pounds of carbon each year.
The local government is also looking to cut energy use at its facilities using solar and energy improvements. By putting new efficiency measures in place, the state says, energy consumption will be slashed by about 30 percent while creating jobs for solar installers.
“The investments in energy efficiency improvements at state buildings will save taxpayer money in the long-run by reducing electricity costs, while helping to move Hawaii toward a clean-energy future,” Lingle indicated.
Home solar as well as portable solar is getting more popular indeed, Riverside’s general manager of utilities, David Wright, said in an interview. Wright expects the number of Riverside solar installations to double or triple in the next two years. With the cost savings and emissions reductions that solar power can provide, it’s no wonder more people are switching to solar.