When looking at the current version of the Solar Bill of Rights (SB 288) on the website of the California Assembly, one thing is obvious: a lot of red lines through whole sections of the text. The following parts of the legislation have been removed:
- Explicit protection for PV system owners from discriminatory fees
- Removal of barriers preventing the participation of rooftop solar and batteries in California’s wholesale markets
- The requirement that utilities create tariffs to value customer-sited renewable energy systems and batteries for their resiliency benefits
- The requirement that state regulators consider imposing tariffs to value the grid reliability and greenhouse gas reduction benefits of solar and energy storage.
Among the little that is left in the current version of the bill is a requirement for utilities to set up streamlined and standardized interconnection for rooftop solar, other forms of customer-sited renewable energy, and batteries. However, the requirement that state bodies oversee the establishment of these standards has been removed, as has the requirement that regulators produce detailed reports on their status of interconnecting renewables, including how long it is taking to get systems connected.
This last part could be important for utilities including the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), as advocates say LADWP’s slow permitting process has held back rooftop solar and is slowing battery deployment in Los Angeles.
Who? What? When?
It is not clear exactly when the California Senate knee-capped this landmark piece of legislation. The Assembly website states that the newly amended version was authored on May 17, a day after it passed the Senate Appropriations Committee 4-2. However, it also states that the bill was amended both in Appropriations and on the floor.
The California Senate appears ready to pass this shadow of the bill, as it quickly made it through a second reading. However, there is no mention of who wielded the ax on this bill, and advocates have been reticent to talk about this, pending political maneuvering. However they are not taking this lying down, and Solar Rights Alliance has a call to action on its website.
We will continue to report on the development of the Solar Bill of Rights, including the politics behind it, as more information becomes available.
The Solar Bill of Rights has been gutted, by Christian Roselund, PV Magazine, May 22, 2019.