Another Day, Another Two Solar Steps in California

Photo courtesy of Governor's Office

It seems like every week there’s another photo op for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signing a new solar power bill, preparing to plunge a shovel into the earth at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new PV plant or standing on a rooftop, surveying a new solar array.

This week was no exception. On Sunday night, the Governator signed two new solar bills into law.

But all the emphasis on this one person can leave the impression that California’s commitment to solar power and Schwarzenegger’s star power are one and the same. Fortunately, it’s a misimpression.

Senator Gloria Negrete McLeodSenator Gloria Negrete McLeod

Take the two bills that the Governor signed this week. The first, SB-32, provides a new “feed-in-tariff” so that utilties must pay a higher rate when buying excess electricity produced by medium-sized solar generators and fed back into the grid.

Schwarzenegger signed the bill, but first it had to be introduced into the state Senate by Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino), a first term legislator representing the state’s 32nd District. From 2000 to 2006 McLeod served in the State Assembly (62nd District).

 

The second, and related, solar bill signed this week mandates net-metering. The California Solar Surplus Act (AB-920) requires utilities to pay customers for any electricity generated by rooftop systems and not used by the custome.

That bill was written by Assemblyman Jared Huffman (D-Marin), elected to the Assembly last November by voters in the state’s 6th District. Before the election, Huffman had been a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Assemblyman Jared HuffmanAssemblyman Jared Huffman

The governor will be leaving office in January, and supporters of solar power will be looking for someone who will not be content simply to equal Schwarzenegger’s record on renewable energy and climate change. While that’s important, green voters will have to keep an eye on politicians at all levels of government if California is to remain a leader in these vital areas.

(A pdf packet of the bills with bio-notes on both McLeod and Huffman can be downloaded here.)

—————————

 Osha Gray Davidson is a contributing blogger at Mother Jones and publisher of The Phoenix Sun, an online news service reporting on solar energy. You can follow his tweets @thephoenixsun.

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate