solar farm

It seems like a simple concept: let California residents produce and store their own energy.

However, California’s Senate Appropriations Committee made it clear this week that passing a ratepayer-friendly bill titled the “Solar Bill of Rights” is going to be harder than it sounds. The committee approved a significant number of amendments to the bill and have sent it back to the

Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications for another vote.

Dave Rosenfeld, executive director of statewide grassroots group Solar Rights Alliance, said the appropriations committee announced they’d vote on the bill, did so behind closed doors and then emerged with an overhaul bill of rights.

“It was done in secret with no public discussions. Committee members said they’d vote on it. Within hours, it was found that they’d gutted it. It was a back-room deal with the utilities, presumably, but we don’t know because the whole thing was done in a rotten way.” Dave Rosenfeld told Energy Pages.

The bill would provide certain rights and protections for those who choose to generate and store their own energy, Rosenfeld said. The state has more than one million residents, schools, businesses and farms using solar. The need for a set of laws protecting them from red tape and harassment is urgent, he said.

“More are choosing solar every day,” Rosenfeld said. “We’re now at a point where we’re ready to demand that it’s time to stop the utility messing around with us. They’ve been harrassing solar users since the beginning.

“We’re asking for these basic rights to be put in place. The utilities see rooftop solar as a challenge to their monopoly. They want to put barriers in place to punish or harass solar users.”Dave Rosenfel added.

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