On September 22, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law three bills that will expand existing renewable energy programs and expedite the permitting process for renewable energy projects. Together, the bills will help businesses and residences invest in renewable energy and assist California in meeting its energy targets and creating clean energy jobs.
S.B. 585 authorizes the California Solar Initiative (CSI) to provide $200 million in rebates to school districts that invest in solar installations. It also increases the overall cost limit on CSI from $3.4 billion to $3.6 billion. California aims to have 20,000 megawatts (MW) of solar power capacity installed by 2020. CSI has provided rebates for public and private sector entities to invest in solar power and is funded through investor-owned utilities. To date, CSI has helped California install 900 MW of solar capacity.
A.B. 1150 extends the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) through 2014. The program provides rebates to residential, commercial, and industrial customers who install distributed generation systems such as wind turbines, fuel cells, solar panels, and energy storage technologies. SGIP is funded through a surcharge on utility bills, and it makes $83 million available in rebates each year. To date, SGIP has provided $619 million in rebates and aided the installation of 348 MW of renewable capacity.
S.B. 16 hastens the CA Department of Fish and Game’s permitting process for renewable energy projects. The department will have 45 days to determine if an application is complete and 60 days after that to issue a permit. The bill also allows developers to pay a fee for an expedited review process.