Cloudy policy

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! CALIFORNIA’S sunny skies make the state the perfect place for solar energy. Sadly, this technology has seldom had the support it needs out of Sacramento. Last year, it seemed that would change when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Million Solar Roofs program as part of his new “green” gospel. The legislation was intended to encourage solar panels with rebates to offset installation costs. It seemed like a great idea whose time had come. But when it comes to government bureaucracy, nothing is ever that easy. And now it’s becoming clear that the state’s solar-rebate program may actually be hurting the very industry it intended to grow.It has been reported in recent weeks that the state’s new rules and requirements for contractors and customers are making it difficult – and, in some cases, costlier – to install solar systems. The state requires solar-panel owners to pay energy rates calculated differently from standard rates for the electricity they do use. Having a higher electricity bill after spending $30,000 for a new solar power system is a curious way to “encourage” this green technology. It’s something only a government agency could think up. And, as one might expect, this is turning people off solar panels in a big way. If Schwarzenegger wants to get credit for more than just talking the green talk, he will fix this program before another summer of California sun goes to waste.last_img read more