It's rather fitting that California's state animal is the grizzly bear. The Golden State has been one of the hardest states hit by the recession, with unemployment rising to 12.2% in August, and budget woes mounting.
Despite these macro difficulties, California has not abandoned its very ambitious renewable energy goals. Last month, Governor Schwarzenegger signed an executive order boosting the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard to 33% by 2020. This week, the state took several steps to advance its arguably quixotic quest.
On Sunday, the Governator signed a bill that allows homeowners to get paid by utilities for the excess electricity generated by their solar arrays (or wind installations). Utilities like Pacific Gas & Electric
Another piece of legislation signed into law on Sunday expands the state's feed-in tariff (FIT), which was launched last year. The project cap has been doubled from 1.5 megawatts to 3 megawatts. That keeps the focus on homeowners and commercial users like Wal-Mart
Last year, the consensus was that California's FIT rate was set too low, since utilities were only required to offer the going rate for electricity from a gas-fired power plant. The result, according to California's Public Utilities Commission (CPUC): "While this program has been effective at attracting landfill gas, small hydro, and some biomass and small wind projects, the program has not resulted in any solar development."
This new iteration of the FIT offers little in the way of improvement. A spokesman from Suntech Power
Companies like SunPower
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