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Showing posts with the label HR2599

Solar Where We Live

A recent article in Sierra Magazine praised the benefits of rooftop solar leasing programs, which allow homeowners to install solar panels with little or no up front costs.  These programs and other policies can revolutionize the way we obtain our energy, and erode the old paradigm of destroying wildlands to power our refrigerators and microwaves. 

As renewable energy expert John Farrell told Sierra Magazine, "[o]ur policy is favoring Big Solar—or Big Anything, really—at the expense of the small stuff." We need to pay more attention to the solution right in front of us.  Parking lots, rooftops, reservoirs, and so on.  Solar panels can make use of these spaces as "distributed generation".

In addition to the solar leasing programs identified in the article, we need policies like feed-in-tariffs and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).  PACE programs enable homeowners to pay for rooftop solar installations through installments on their local property tax over time. …

10 Million Solar Rooftops Act of 2011

Earlier this month I wrote about about legislation that could revolutionize the rooftop solar industry, making it much more accessible to homeowners.  The PACE Assessment Protection Act of 2011 (H.R.2599) would allow homeowners to finance a new rooftop solar installation through their property tax assessment, paying for it over time.  Another bill worth calling attention to is the 10 Million Solar Rooftops Act of 2011 (S.1108), which would establish competitive grants to encourage municipalities and local utilities to increase distributed solar generation.  The aim of the grants would be to streamline local permit processes, and also implement interconnection and net-metering, which would ultimately allow a homeowner to sell excess renewable energy generated by rooftop solar panels back to the grid.

Local permitting has complicated the deployment of distributed generation in some areas.  For example, a Sierra Club study in Southern California found that some cities charged permit fees…