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Solar Energy Rules

As climate change initiatives and renewable energy standards are adopted at both the local and state level across the country, solar energy technologies are getting more focused attention by policymakers. Below are a selection of rules that target efforts to enhance solar energy installations - both thermal and electric.

State Level

  • Solar Power on New State Buildings - California
    This law required the Department of General Services, in consultation with the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, to ensure that solar energy equipment is installed, no later than January 1, 2007, on all state buildings and state parking facilities where feasible, as specified. More...
  • Solar Hot Water Incentive Program - California
    The Calilfornia Solar Water Heating and Efficiency Act of 2007 (AB 1470), creates a 10-year program aimed at installing 200,000 solar water heaters in homes and businesses using a $250 million fund.  The law authorizes the California Energy Commission to “impose the surcharge at a level that is necessary to meet the goal of installing 200,000 solar water heating systems..." More...
  • Solar Initiative Program - California
    In 2006, California enacted a "Million Solar Roofs" law. The bill reiterates and supplements the California Public Utilities Commission's $2.9 billion California Solar Initiative. The new law extends the PUC solar energy incentives initiative to publicly-owned utilities - municipal and cooperatives. Including the publicly-owned utilities, the PUC must limit the cost of the California Solar Initiative to $3.35 billion over the next 10 years.
  • Renewable Portfolio Standard - New Jersey
    In April 2006, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) issued new regulations that as a whole requires 22.5 percent renewable energy by 2021. Most interesting is a requirement for photovoltaics to meet 2.12 percent of the state's cosumption - representing about 1,500 MW by 2020. More...
  • Renewable Portfolio Standard - Nevada
    On June 8, 2001, Nevada enacted the country’s most aggressive renewable portfolio standard at the time. The law required that 15 percent of all electricity generated be derived from new renewables by the year 2013. Five percent of the RPS must be from solar energy projects. In June 2005, Nevada raised the requirements of the RPS to 20 percent of sales by 2015. The bill also allows certain energy efficiency measures to qualify for up to one-quarter of the total standard in any particular year. More...
  • Solar Power on New or Significantly Renovated Public Buildings - Oregon
    Effective January 1, 2008, Oregon now requires that all construction of new "public buildings" or major renovations comprising more than 50% of the existing building’s total value “contain an amount equal to at least 1.5% of the total contract price for the inclusion of appropriate solar energy technology in the public building. More...
  • In-State Preference for Renewable Energy Systems - Washington
    Two proposals were signed into law in 2005 in Washington. The new laws put distributed generation and renewable energy on the fast track in the state. The first bill (SB 5101) establishes a renewable energy production incentive that is larger if the equipment comes from in-state manufacturers. The second bill (SB 5111) provides corporate tax breaks for solar energy businesses in the state based on their sales. More...

Local Level

  • Solar Energy Initiative - San Francisco, CA
    In November 2001, voters in San Francisco cast their ballots in favor of becoming a world leader in solar electricity. Seventy-three percent of voters approved of Proposition B to allow San Francisco to issue $100 million in revenue bonds to finance enough renewable energy to supply about 25 percent of the government's needs. If fully implemented San Francisco will become the largest single producer of solar energy in the U.S. More...
  • Green Building Requirements and Incentives for Private Development - West Hollywood, CA
    This ordinance applies a suite of energy conservation and renewable energy requirements to both residential and commercial development. Some provisions apply to new building projects while others apply to remodeling projects at existing buildings. One of these is a requirement to prepare the building for the installation of future photovoltaic systems. More...

Municipally Owned Utility Solar Programs

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