Friday, April 27, 2007

Solar Power in California

Those that read my Blog know that I had converted my home to Solar Electric Power about 6 years ago. My county in California is active in support of more Solar in California and my State Representative has sponsored a Bill requesting support for more help in passage of the Bill. Here's some background from you might find interesting if you are a California resident.

The Solar Water Heating and Efficiency Act of 2007 (AB 1470), authored by Assemblymember Jared Huffman (Marin), has passed two committees in the state Assembly over the past two weeks. The bill would create the nation's largest rebate program for solar water heating technologies, helping to lower energy bills, reduce global warming pollution and expand California's solar power market.

Solar hot water systems are one of most promising technologies available today. The systems can be located directly on the roof of a home or business, just like solar electric panels. They capture heat from the sun to heat water to reduce gas bills by up to 50 percent.

AB 1470 would create a statewide rebate program to grow a mainstream market for solar hot water systems, building 200,000 rooftop systems within 10 years. The typical cost of a solar hot water system is between $4,000 and $6,000. With a rebate from the state, and continuation of a federal tax credit, such systems could become cost effective from day-one if financed through a home loan or could pay for themselves within 8 to 10 years.

Despite opposition from Sempra, one of California's largest natural gas corporations, a majority of two key committees in the state Legislature voted in favor of AB 1470.

The first committee vote came on April 16th in Assembly Utilities & Commerce Committee. The assemblymembers voting in favor of the bill were: Hector De La Torre (LA), Karen Bass (LA), Mike Davis (LA), Dave Jones (Sacramento), Laura Richardson (Long Beach), Bill Author Jared Huffman (Marin) and Cameron Smyth (Santa Clarita).

The second committee vote happened on April 23rd in Assembly Natural Resources Committee. The assembly members voting in favor of the bill were: Loni Hancock (Berkeley), Patty Berg (Eureka), Julia Brownley (Santa Monica), John Laird* (Santa Cruz), Lori Saldana* (San Diego), and Lois Wolk* (Davis). The starred members are co-authors.

Please help us build support for solar power by asking a friend or family member to e-mail his or her assemblymember in support of AB 1470.

To take action, click on the link below or paste it into your Web browser:

I have been fortunate that with the exception of a one month period when I had my panels off, I have not had to pay for any electricity in 6 years. The only electric bill I receive is about $100-$160/year for fees the Pacific Gas & Electric charge me for being hooked up to the electric Grid so we can send our excess electricity back for all to use. It was one of our best decisions to go Solar as there are additional benefits not cited. First, your roof stays cooler in the summer because the panels block the rays of the sun. This keeps our upstairs cooler requiring less air conditioning. The roof should last longer too as the sun's rays aren't beating all day on the roof. And thirdly, they value in appreciation of your house is also a plus. The City of San Francisco, which in the summer is well known for its fog, is considering purchasing all its power from alternative energy sources that are Green, thus saving on Middle Eastern oil needs. Say what you like about San Francisco being so Left of Center politically, they are often leading the country for the betterment of society. Recently the City banned plastic bags from grocery stores as these bags will not decompose in dumps and will be around for many lifetimes.

Think Green and act Locally.

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