Southern California Businesses celebrate Governor Brown signing Assemblymember Irwin’s Solar Thermal Extension Legislation
SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin’s significant piece of legislation (AB 797) designed to extend Solar Thermal rebates for customers until 2020 was signed by the governor. The bill will go into effect at the beginning of 2018.
“With Aliso Canyon fresh in our minds, solar thermal projects help us reduce our need for natural gas, protects our environment, improves the health of our communities, and supports good-paying local jobs,” said Assemblymember Irwin. “I am pleased that Governor Brown has signed the extension of this vital piece of legislation into law.”
Solar Thermal technology uses the sun’s energy to generate low-cost, environmentally friendly thermal energy designed to heat water or other fluids. These projects, much like electric generated solar, require the use of panels on roof tops. On a statewide level, 5.8 million therms have been removed each year, equal to the annual amount of natural gas used to heat water for over 32,000 homes or equivalent to removing 6,500 cars from the road each year. Most solar thermal panels are produced in California. In fact, 72% of all installations in California used solar thermal panels manufactured in the state. In the 44th Assembly District, solar thermal projects have reduced the region’s carbon emissions by removing 39,000 therms from our air, which is equivalent to taking 44 cars off the road each year. So far, 67 commercial and residential solar thermal jobs have been completed in the 44th Assembly District alone.
Regional businesses like Enovative Group and All Valley Solar, which are based in Monterey Park and North Hollywood respectively, have built affordable housing projects and pool heating projects throughout Ventura County using Solar Thermal devices as a way to heat the water of the building’s residents. Two examples of these types of projects include low income residential housing projects in Thousand Oaks and Oxnard.
“The California solar thermal market is growing, especially in the multifamily housing sector – with 32% annual growth between 2015 and 2016 in annual natural gas savings,” said Kelly Knutsen, Senior Policy Advisor of the California Solar Energy Industries Association, a cosponsor of AB 797. “Governor Brown has been a long-time champion of clean energy and solar thermal technologies, and we applaud both Governor Brown and Assemblymember Irwin for their leadership in building California’s clean energy economy.”
The bill previously passed the Assembly with a 45-19 vote and the Senate with a 30-10 vote.