California Senators Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Jim Nielsen (R-Fresno) has just proposed significant solar power legislation.
Their Solar Bill of Rights proposal, if passed, would enable California homeowners to “….require the PUC to collaborate with the Independent System Operator to modify existing tariffs to remove barriers to the participation of customer-sited energy resources in programs intended to provide energy, capacity, and ancillary services for the bulk power system.”
Basically homeowners will be able to freely generate and store their solar power and have both their solar panel systems and battery systems be connected to the grid. The bill states that there will not be any “discriminatory fees or charges” for having such a set up.
In addition to that, there will be new compensation ideas related to the benefits that solar plus storage customers bring to the grid. The main idea being that as more homeowners are storing their energy at home and delivering their excess electricity to the grid, the more resilient and stable the grid is on the whole. The senators rightly believe that homeowners should be compensated for offering this important value to the grid.
Three major organizations are supporting this proposed bill. They are Vote Solar, Solar Rights Alliance, and the California Solar and Storage Alliance. In addition to the previously mentioned senators, this bill is also backed by 4 assembly members as well as Jeff Stone (R-Riverside County).
There’s two important ideas to mention with this new proposal. First of all, it appears to be stronger legislation than the average net metering law. Secondly, it also takes into account on-site energy storage.
It’s no surprise that this is taking place in California. The state has been the leader in the adoption of solar power. However, this bodes well for other progressive states (and eventually every state in the union). It can be seen as a guide or example for other states to follow.
This really is a significant proposal. It can’t be understated. This bill would allow for energy competition. It would signal that the energy industry is no longer to remain a monopoly. Homeowners, businesses, non-profits, etc. would be allowed to become energy investors and reap the benefits of the power industry. This is an enormous opportunity for those who wish to take advantage.
This is obviously very early days as very few homeowners have both solar panels and energy storage systems. However, this proposed legislation is a great sign that the free market system should and will pertain to the energy industry as well.