New Laws in California

Climatewire reports that that the governor has signed several new environmental laws:

•A.B. 920, which expands the state’s net-metering program to require all investor-owned and publicly owned utilities to purchase surplus energy back from customers that generate their own wind and solar power, up to 2.5 MW per utility. The CPUC will set the rate. Competing bills would have raised the cap to 5 MW.

•A.B. 758, which requires the California Energy Commission to write rules requiring existing homes and nonresidential buildings to reduce their emissions. It includes funding for energy assessments, efficiency upgrades, public outreach and education.

•S.B. 104, which adds nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) to the list of greenhouse gases regulated by the state’s 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act. It authorizes the state Air Resources Board to limit its use in the production of flat-screen televisions, solar panels and microprocessors.

•A.B. 1366, which gives local water agencies authority to manage the discharge of in-home water softeners that raise the salt content of surface and groundwater. The bill applies to the South Coast, the Central Coast, the San Joaquin Valley, Tulare Lake and the lower half of the Sacramento Valley.

•S.B. 757, which prohibits the sale and installation of lead wheel weights in California. The European Union already bans lead wheel weights, which balance wheels on cars and trucks but also cause lead pollution when they fall off vehicles.

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Reader Comments

7 Replies to “New Laws in California”

  1. Losing the profits for excess energy, I believe, is the main reason many Californians are reluctant to invest in solar energy. Receiving payment for unused solar power will help return the initial investment more quickly and attract more solar energy buyers. Thanks for the article!

  2. I should have written more here. As I read it, you don’t just receive a discount on your electricity bill until it’s zero, you can actually make money if you produce more energy with your solar panels than you use. Every vacation home, warehouse, and self-storage unit in the state should take advantage of this.

  3. Red Desert,
    You are correct that net metering is different from a feed-in tariff!
    The most basic difference is that under a FIT, the utility pays for energy at a rate that is not necessarily tied to the retail rate charged to the customer, while under net metering the rates are identical.
    In addition to AB 920, which Dan mentions in his post, the Legislature also passed a limited feed-in tariff law: SB 32.
    AB 920, the net metering law, applies to residential customers. SB 32 applies to certain solar installations on commercial properties.
    This blog post from Solar Fred discusses AB 920 and SB 32 in some detail:
    http://www.solarpowerrocks.com/california/new-california-solar-incentives-hello-net-metering-and-feed-in-cash/
    And I think actually, AB 920 doesn’t apply to LADWP, even though it applies to some publicly-owned utilities. From the bill’s definition of “Electric utility”:
    “This section shall not apply to a local publicly owned electric utility that serves more than 750,000 customers and that also conveys water to its customers. “

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About Dan

Dan Farber

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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