FOWLER, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Last Thursday (Sept. 22), on a day when the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District issued its third dirty air alert in a week, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. visited Marshall Elementary School in Fowler and signed three bills that bolster the state’s commitment to clean energy.
“California’s children deserve clean air and a bright future,” said Governor Brown. “They deserve good jobs and a strong economy. The bills I signed today are part of a solar energy revolution that is sweeping our state. These bills will help create jobs, lower electric bills and clean up the air we breathe.”
One bill signed by Governor Brown will help schools in the Fowler Unified School District save approximately $14 million in energy costs over the next 25 years. SB 585, authored by Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego), helps school districts to finance solar installations at local schools by authorizing $200 million for the California Solar Initiative (CSI). The solar panels, slated for construction on parking structures and playground equipment at Marshall Elementary, are expected to save $439,000 in energy costs during the first year alone.
These projects will help meet the state’s goal of getting 20,000 megawatts (MW) from renewable sources by 2020. The CSI program, funded through investor-owned utilities, provides rebates for solar installations on commercial, industrial, non-profit, government and other non-residential spaces. Energy produced by these installations dramatically cuts participants’ energy bills. CSI has been extremely successful, helping to generate nearly 900 MW of solar energy to date.
Governor Brown also signed two other bills today in Fowler: AB 1150 by Assemblymember Victor Manuel Perez (D-Coachella) and SB 16 by Senator Michael Rubio (D-Bakersfield).
AB 1150 authorizes the California Public Utilities Commission to collect funds for the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) through December 31, 2014. The SGIP program makes approximately $83 million in rebates available each year. Since it began in 2001, the SGIP program has made over $619 million in rebates for the installation of 348 MW of clean, renewable energy.
SB 16 requires the Department of Fish and Game to expedite their permitting process for renewable energy projects. It also gives developers the option to pay a fee to expedite government review, a solution that balances a responsible review of proposed projects with a timely approach to the process.