Report: "Shared Renewables" Legislation Would Boost California Jobs, Economy

Legislation will encourage more investment and create thousands of jobs

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--California legislation to expand access to solar and other renewables would create thousands of local jobs and deliver significant economic benefits to the state according to a new report released today by Vote Solar, a non-profit grassroots organization.


SB 43 (Wolk) and AB 1014 (Williams) would establish new "shared renewables" programs to allow thousands of California homes, businesses and schools to go solar without owning their own roof. The report found that a 1,000 megawatt (MW) shared renewables program created by these bills would deliver the following economic benefits to the state:

*12,700 Local Jobs. Shared renewables projects would create thousands of construction-related jobs each year, in addition to long-term operations and maintenance jobs. These are high quality local employment opportunities across a broad range of education requirements, salary levels and fields.

*$130 Million in Tax Revenues. The sales tax on renewable energy systems installed would provide much needed revenue for the state of California.

*$4.3 Billion in Total Economic Activity. Shared renewables projects would support wages, salaries and revenues that can be reinvested into the state economy, creating a significant new economic engine for California.

"Three out of four Californians are currently unable to take advantage of renewable energy through the state's renewable power programs. They pay into programs to support renewable energy, yet can't install their own power generation system for a variety of reasons. SB 43 rectifies this inequity," said Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis). "My legislation will encourage more investment and create thousands of jobs in an important sector of our state's economy without requiring any state funds or shifting costs to consumers who chose not to participate."

"Solar energy is no longer the wave of the future – it is the reality now," said Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara). "We have an opportunity with these bills to dramatically expand our use of renewable energies, create thousands of new jobs and generate tax revenues, all in the greenest way possible."

"By connecting more Californians with the clean energy they want, shared renewable energy programs can unleash significant new private investment in the state's growing solar economy. Add the proven environmental, public health, and energy bill saving benefits of more local clean energy, and it's clear that this is an idea whose time has come," said Susannah Churchill, California policy advocate for Vote Solar.

California leads the nation in solar power, yet a significant portion of the state's energy consumers – including millions of residential and commercial tenants – are unable to generate their own power on-site from solar. Shared renewables arrangements overcome that barrier by allowing energy customers to subscribe to an off-site renewable energy project and get utility bill credit for their portion of the energy produced.

SB 43 and AB 1014 would establish a pilot program for up to 1,000 MW of new shared renewable energy systems for customers of the state's major utilities: PG&E, SCE and SDG&E. Customers who choose to participate would receive credit on their utility bills for their portion of the clean power generated. A portion of the program will be reserved for both residential customers and for projects located in low-income communities to ensure diversity of participation. The program requires no state subsidies.

The full report is available at: http://votesolar.org/2013/04/shared-renewables-job-report/

Learn more about California's shared renewables campaign at: www.CaliforniaSharedRenewables.org

Report Methodology:

To assess California's shared renewables opportunity, Vote Solar used the recently updated Job and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) model developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). SB 43/AB 1014 are open to all renewable energy technologies that qualify for the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). For simplicity, Vote Solar assumed that solar projects meet one hundred percent of the program capacity for purposes of this analysis.

About Vote Solar:

The Vote Solar Initiative (Vote Solar) is a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream. Since 2002 Vote Solar has engaged in state, local and federal campaigns to remove regulatory barriers and implement the key policies needed to bring solar to scale. www.votesolar.org

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