FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 02/28/2005
Governor Schwarzenegger Announces One Million Solar Roofs by 2018
Bipartisan Support for 'Million Solar Roofs Initiative' Establishes Policy Framework
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced support for legislation that will provide the foundation for his goal to create one million solar roofs by 2018.
"I promised the people of California during the campaign that as governor I would push for solar power," said Gov. Schwarzenegger. "Today, I am keeping that promise to harness renewable solar energy with the help of my friends Senator Murray and Senator Campbell, to create one million solar roofs."
Sens. Kevin Murray (D-Culver City) and John Campbell (R-Irvine) have introduced SB 1 and SB 1017 that together will create the "Million Solar Roofs Initiative," a framework for both commercial and residential roofs to be solar energy equipped. SB 1 directs the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to provide funding and support, through a self-generated incentive program, for the installation of solar energy systems on new and existing residential and commercial sites. SB 1017 will provide a tax credit for solar systems by extending the current provision slated to sunset this year. The tax credit will be applied for 7.5 percent of "unsubsidized" cost to the taxpayer, meaning there will be a 7.5 percent tax credit for every dollar spent on a solar system above and beyond the rebate received from state or federal sources. This support would provide builders with incentives to offer solar power options on new homes and businesses. Rebates to homeowners and businesses with solar energy systems would further reduce ratepayer costs.
There will also be a property tax provision that prevents property reassessment upon the installation of a solar system.
"In my State of the State speech I said I was going to encourage builders to build homes using solar power," said Gov. Schwarzenegger. "Today, in California where we are famous for the sun, we are going to put the positive benefits of that sun to good use. Through the 'Million Solar Roofs Initiative' and the willingness of the building community to join us in this effort, we will succeed in providing a stable alternative source of energy."
Homeowners would realize a positive cash flow in energy savings from the outset. At the time of purchase, on average, they would receive nearly a 40 percent rebate, or $5,000 on an overall $13,000 cost for a solar energy system. Over the average 25-year life of the system, with electricity bill savings and mortgage interest tax savings, the system would pay for itself. More importantly, the consumer would realize consistent and ongoing monthly savings in energy cost reductions and tax savings during that time.
"I am proud to partner with Gov. Schwarzenegger and Sen. Murray to create this unique opportunity to lead the nation in solar power energy," said Sen. Campbell. "The Governor is taking bold steps to lead a bipartisan effort to increase our energy independence, improve the environment and reduce the cost of electricity for consumers. California will greatly benefit from this solar investment."
Said Sen. Murray: "Building solar homes not only saves the homeowner money by reducing their energy bills, it also brings down the overall price of solar energy by exponentially expanding California's solar energy markets. It is good to know that there is bipartisan support and I look forward to working with the Governor, Sen. Campbell and my colleagues in the Legislature to make solar energy an affordable and accessible option for millions of Californians."
The Schwarzenegger Administration's goal is to have a self-sustaining solar industry in the next decade providing a low cost, pollution free alternative to other energy sources for both homes and businesses. Promotion of renewable energy sources has been a cornerstone of Gov. Schwarzenegger's energy policy.