Solar power access looking a lot brighter in California

An important part of all the talk around renewable energy is how we can make it accessible to everyone, and not just the fortunate few who prefer Teslas with their Dom Perignon. But in California, they’re doing more than just talking about it – they’re making it happen on a larger scale than anywhere else in the country.

On Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed bill AB 693, which designates $100 million to installing solar power equipment in low-income communities over the next 10 years. Thanks to the bill, 215,000 multifamily affordable housing units will have solar panels installed. Low-income families who use solar power will also be eligible to get credit for lower utility costs.

In a press release, Strela Cervas, the co-director of California Environmental Justice Alliance, stated:

While low-­income communities and communities of color have long been locked out of the economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy, AB 693 will bridge this green divide. It will infuse low-­income communities with health and economic benefits by lowering utility bills and creating clean energy in some of the communities that have been most impacted by pollution.

AB 693 is one of three bills in the environmental justice package signed this week by Brown. Another adds two representatives to California’s Air Resources Board from communities overburdened by pollution and environmental degradation, and the third details a policy that would bring income from penalty fines directly to the same such communities.

Despite that whole massive drought and being on fire thing, the Golden State is looking pret-ty good this week. We’re a little jealous over here in New York – and California already had the far superior unofficial state anthem, so this is just getting unfair.

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