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Additional About Go Solar California Information

California & U.S. Renewable Energy Legislation

Picture of State Capitol, credit - Adam Gottlieb

California State Capitol
Photo Credit: Adam Gottlieb
California Energy Commission

This section provides a listing of solar-related legislation that are either approved or currently in session from the time the California Solar Initiative was launched. For previous legislative summaries, please see the summary of energy-related legislation below.

Current Legislation

You can search to find the status of any current bill before the California Legislature or the U.S. Congress through these links.

California Solar-Related Legislation, 2009-2010 Session

Bill No. & (Author) Chapter Number Summary
AB 920 (Huffman) Chapter 376, Statutes of 2009 This bill will require electric distribution utilities and cooperatives to compensate eligible customer-generators, generating electricity with solar and wind energy systems, for any excess electricity they supply to the grid. The utilities and cooperatives will either provide a direct payment to the customer or credit the customer. This bill will also clarify that solar energy systems that are larger than is needed to serve a customer's on-site electricity needs, are still eligible for financial incentives under the California Solar Initiative and New Solar Homes Partnership, but may qualify for incentives for only that portion of the system's capacity needed to serve the customer's on-site needs.
AB 1031 (Blumenfield) Chapter 380, Statutes of 2009 This bill will allow community college, University of California, and California State University campuses to receive credit on their electric bill for power generated by a renewable energy facility by expanding the definition of "local government" as it relates to the California Solar Initiative.
AB 1351 (Blakeslee) Chapter 525, Statutes of 2009 This bill will authorize a state board or agency to be the applicable entity to issue the Renewables Portfolio Standard certification, pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act, for out-of-state hydroelectric generating facilities that have increased their generation incrementally via energy efficiency. The bill also requires that a hydroelectric facility be owned by a retail seller or local publicly owned electric utility.
AB 1551 (Committee on Utilities and Commerce) Chapter 336, Statutes of 2009 This bill will correct language that was codified last year that inadvertently restricted the size of all projects financed by the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority. This bill also revises the definition of 'low-income residential housing' relating to eligibility requirements for the California Solar Initiative program. This bill contains an urgency clause and extends net-metering eligibility for fuel cells though January 1, 2014.
SB 32 (Negrete McLeod) Chapter 328, Statues of 2009 This bill will revise and expand the current feed-in tariff program for eligible renewable electric generation facilities.
SB 412 (Kehoe) Chapter 182, Statutes of 2009 This bill will authorize the California Public Utilities Commission's to collect funds for the Self-Generation Incentive Program, as well as extend the administration of the program. Also, the California Public Utilities Commission, in consultation with the Air Resources Board, is required to determine what distributed energy resources are eligible for program incentives; and in the case of fossil fuel, add strict requirements for their operation.

California Solar-Related Legislation, 2007-2008 Session

The 2007-2008 Session was a busy year for solar-related legislation in California. Below is a summary of key solar distributed generation legislation that was passed by the California Legislature and signed into law by the Governor. In most cases, legislation signed by the Governor in 2008 will take effect on January 1, 2009.

Bill No. & (Author) Chapter Number Summary
AB 811 (Levine) 159 This bill authorizes California cities and counties to designate areas within which city officials and willing property owners may enter into contractual assessments to finance the installation of distributed generation renewable energy sources, including solar, and energy efficiency improvements.
AB 1062 (Ma) 653 This bill requires the State Architect within the Department of General Services to develop uniform criteria for the approval of solar design plans for school facilities. The Department shall complete its review of such applications within 45 days, and within 10 days for applications corrected at the request of the Department.
AB 1451 (Leno) 538 This bill modifies the existing property tax exclusion for solar energy systems to specify that "the construction or addition of an active solar energy system" includes the construction of an active solar energy system on a new building in which the owner-builder incorporated solar in the initial construction and the owner-builder does not intend to occupy or use the new building. This bill extends the solar energy system exclusion through the 2015-16 fiscal year.
AB 1892 (Smyth) 40 This bill provides that any provision in the governing documents of a common interest development that effectively prohibits or restricts the installation or use of a solar energy system is void and unenforceable.
AB 2180 (Lieu) 539 This bill requires homeowners associations to respond to a request from a member to install a solar energy system within 60 days. If no action is taken within that timeline, the request shall be deemed approved. The application shall be processed and approved in the same manner as an application for approval of an architectural modification to a property.
AB 2466 (Laird) 540 This bill authorizes a local government to receive a bill credit for electricity supplied to the electric grid by an eligible renewable generating facility. The generating facility and the benefiting account that receives the bill credit must both be located within the geographical boundary of the local government but do not have to be at the same site.
AB 2768 (Levine) 541 This bill deletes the requirement that a customer who installs a solar energy system must take service on a time-of-use tariff. This bill requires that utilities offer solar customer generators the option to take service under flat rate or time-of-use pricing, if there is a flat rate pricing schedule for which the ratepayer would have qualified if the ratepayer had not installed the system.
AB 2804 (Hayashi) 542 This bill authorizes a school district or community college district applying for California Solar Initiative incentives to request an extension of the reservation expiration date, up to a maximum of 3 extensions of 180 calendar days for each extension.
AB 2863 (Leno) 535 This bill creates an exception from the definition of an electrical corporation for an "independent solar energy producer." This bill clarifies that the solar power purchase agreement model of third party ownership is not subject to monopoly utility regulation. This bill also requires independent solar energy producers to provide certain disclosures to residential customers, it requires all contracts for residential systems be made available to the CPUC upon request, and imposes civil liabilities for violation of such contracts.
SB 380 (Kehoe) 544 This bill expands the small renewable generation feed-in-tariffs authorized by AB 1969 (Yee, 2006). This bill would require every electrical corporation to:
  • Offer feed-in-tariff to any eligible renewable generating facility with a capacity of not more than 1.5 MW.
  • Make feed-in-tariff available upon request, on a first come first served basis, until the combined statewide cumulative rated generating capacity of those electric generation facilities equals 500 megawatts.
SB 1399 (Simitian) 176 Existing law prohibits a person owning or in control of a property from allowing a tree or shrub to cast a shadow on a solar energy system on a neighboring property. The bill exempts trees and shrubs planted prior to the installation of the solar energy system. This bill also requires the owner of a solar energy system to provide written notice, prior to the installation of solar, to owners of neighboring properties that may be affected. The bill provides that a local ordinance specifying requirements for tree preservation or solar shade control would govern within that local jurisdiction.

AB = Assembly Bill, SB = Senate Bill

Source: California Public Utilities Commission & California Energy Commission

Past Legislation on Renewable Energy

Year Bill No. & (Author) Chapter Number Summary
1996 AB 1890 (Brulte) 854 "Provided the framework for the deregulation of the electricity market in California, created the Independent System Operator (ISO) and the Power Exchange, and established the public goods surcharge for investor-owned utilities. The surcharge funded public interest programs including the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program and renewable energy programs under the Energy Commission, and efficiency programs under the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)."
1997 SB 90 (Sher) 905 Provided the administrative and expenditure criteria necessary to implement the renewables support and public interest RD&D provisions for AB 1890.
2000 AB 995 (Wright)
AB 1194 (Sher)
1051 "Extended the public goods surcharge on electricity to fund public interest energy research, renewable energy support, and efficiency programs for 10 years."
2002 SB 1078 (Sher) 516 "Established the renewable portfolio standard, requiring retail sellers of electricity to increase procurement of electricity from renewable energy sources by at least 1 percent of retail sales per year until their portfolio of renewable energy increases to 20 percent. Set the deadline for reaching this threshold at 2017. Required municipal utilities to implement and enforce their own such program."
2006 AB 32 (Nuñez) 488 "Enacted the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, requiring the Air Resources Board to adopt regulations aimed at curbing GHG emissions."
2006 AB 2723 (Pavley) 064 Electricity: solar energy: low-income residential housing
2006 AB 2778 (Lieber) 793 Electricity: self-generation incentive program
2006 SB 1 (Murray) 132 "Established the California Solar Initiative. Required the Energy Commission and the CPUC to implement a program aimed at installing 3,000 megawatts of solar energy systems on new and existing residential and commercial sites and placing solar energy systems on 50% of new homes by 2020."
2006 SB 107 (Smitian) 464 Accelerated the 20% target of the Renewable Portfolio Standard from 2017 to 2010. Also redirected funds toward the Existing Renewable Resources Account to achieve competitive and self-sustaining renewable facilities.
2006 SB 1250 (Perata) 512 "Reauthorized the Energy Commission's PIER Program and the Renewable Energy Program for five years, and established specific goals for the PIER program."

AB = Assembly Bill, SB = Senate Bill

Source: Office of Governmental Affairs, California Energy Commission