Community solar advocates applaud the California Senate Budget Committee for recommending $400 million in community solar and storage investment in an updated budget and fiscal review released May 25.
Earlier this week, a coalition of environmental and environmental justice advocates submitted a letter to legislative leadership asking for $400 million in Clean Energy Reliability Investment Program (CERIP) funding. The groups specifically urged the Legislature to fund programs that provide bill savings for low-income customers and increase local reliability in low-income and marginalized communities.
Community solar and storage expands access to affordable solar energy by allowing all utility customers, regardless of apartment type, to subscribe to a solar grid and receive direct credits for the renewable energy produced on their utility bills. Last September, California passed the landmark Assembly Bill 2316, which opened the process to create a community solar and storage program and requires 51% of the program’s capacity to serve low-income customers. Solar energy and equity advocates touted the bill’s potential to accelerate the state’s clean energy transition while bringing financial relief to those struggling with disproportionately high energy bills and utility debt. While the plan is currently being debated and designed by the California Public Utilities Commission, advocates are calling for state funding to support the expanded equity benefits of any new community solar and storage projects and to make California more competitive with funding from the $7 billion Solar for All program. to ensure. ” boiler is exclusively designed to expand solar access for low-income and disadvantaged communities.
“The $400 million in funding will help us build on the tremendous potential of AB 2316 by making solar power and storage affordable for many more California families,” said Stephanie Doyle, Vote Solar’s California Regulatory Director. “Thank you to the Senate Budget Committee for recognizing the need for bold investments in fair and efficient clean energy solutions. This commitment will help California secure federal investments that can help expand access and benefits for more Californians.”
Governor Newsom and the state assembly are currently debating their own “budget trailer bills,” which in California refer to bills that implement policies set forth in the state budget. The bills will be discussed and the final versions will be voted on before the end of the legislative session in September.
“This commitment proposed by the Senate will go a long way to help frontline communities access clean energy. The Governor and State Assembly should follow their lead and stand up for environmental justice by approving $400 million in CERIP funding for community solar and storage,” said Alexis Satterman, Energy Equity Program Manager for the California Environmental Justice Alliance. “California lags far behind other states in community solar and storage when it should be leading the way. Community solar and storage are an important way to reliably stop polluting gas plants and provide bill savings and improved air in low-income and environmental justice communities.”
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