California Senate Budget Committee Proposes $400 Million Investment in Community Solar Power + Storage

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Community solar advocates applaud the California Senate Budget Committee for proposing a $400 million community solar and storage investment in the updated Fiscal and Budget Review, released May 25.

Earlier this week, a coalition of environmental advocates and environmental justice submitted a letter to legislative leadership, requesting the allocation of $400 million of Clean Energy Reliability Investment Plan (CERIP) funds. The groups specifically urged the legislature to fund projects that create bill savings for low-income customers and increase local reliability in low-income and underserved communities.

Community solar and storage expands access to affordable solar by allowing all utility customers, regardless of home type, to subscribe to a solar panel and receive direct credits off their utility bills for energy renewable generated. Last September, California passed 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 celebrated the bill’s potential to accelerate the state’s clean energy transition, while providing financial relief to those struggling with disproportionately high energy bills and utility debt. While the program is currently being discussed and designed at the California Public Utilities Commission, advocates are calling for state funds to support the enhanced equity benefits of any new community solar and storage programs and make California more competitive for raise $7 billion “Solar for All” funding. ” Pot exclusively intended to expand solar access for disadvantaged and low-income communities.

“The $400 million funding will help us realize the enormous potential of AB 2316, bringing affordable solar and storage within the reach of many more California families,” said Stephanie Doyle, Director of California Regulation for Vote Solar. “Thank you to the Senate Budget Committee for recognizing the need for bold investments in equitable and impactful 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 considering their own “advance budget bills,” which in California refers to bills that implement policies outlined in the state budget. The bills will be negotiated and the final versions will be voted on before the end of the legislative session in September.

“This Senate-proposed compromise will go a long way toward helping frontline communities access clean energy. The Governor and State Assembly should follow suit and stand up for environmental justice by approving a $400 million allocation of CERIP funds for community solar and storage,” said Alexis Sutterman, Energy Equity Program Manager at the California Environmental Justice Alliance. “California is way behind other states in community solar and storage when it should be in the lead. Community solar and storage is a critical pathway to reliably retire the most polluting peak gas plants and deliver bill savings and improved air quality for low-income and environmental justice communities.”

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