Some interesting — and most would say good — news out of the Golden State late last week …

In an effort to offset high electricity costs, further promote the movement towards renewable energy use in California, and create green jobs, Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D- Berkeley) drafted a bill that would allow homeowners to sell even more excess electricity generated by rooftop solar systems back to utility companies. Current California net metering laws allow for utilities to buy only 2.5 percent of energy from customers; the new piece of legislation would raise this cap to 5 percent. The bill was adopted by the Assembly last week and the Terminator Governor Schwarzenegger is expected to sign it.

This could be a nice little financial incentive (or at least help offset installation costs) for homeowners who regularly produce surplus solar energy, right? Well, it doesn’t look anyone is going to get rich quick from selling excess solar power but this is an encouraging step forward.

Clean energy advocates are pleased with the bill but consumer advocates (and the utility companies) … not so much. They believe the bill is flawed because the energy sold to utilities by homeowners should count towards the California’s renewable energy mandates. Under the mandates, utilities must produce 33 percent of their power via clean sources like wind, solar, and geothermal by 2030.

The new bill has sparked a lively conversation over in the comments section at the SFGate. Californians with or without home solar systems, what do you think? 

Via [The San Francisco Chronicle]

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Solar to get mostly-welcome boost in California
A new bill adopted in California will permit homeowners to sell even more excess power generated by rooftop solar panels. But not everyone's pleased ...