Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Million Solar Roofs proposal coming unplugged

The sunThe proposal to subsidize solar energy in California has mostly been praised by environmentalists, although of course it is not perfect. Now it's future is in doubt, another victim of the Governor's antipathy to labor unions.
Governor backs off solar energy plan
By Kevin Yamamura -- Bee Capitol Bureau

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is prepared to veto his top legislative priority - the "million solar roofs" proposal - after Assembly Democrats last week added labor-friendly amendments...

SB 1 could provide more than $2 billion toward solar-panel installations in California on a million residential, commercial and industrial buildings by 2019. Schwarzenegger made the bill a cornerstone of his legislative package in an attempt to appeal to environmentalists, and it has been one of the few high-profile proposals in a lackluster legislative session.

...Assembly Democrats added amendments to Schwarzenegger's solar plan that would require workers to receive a union-based wage on commercial and industrial solar installations. The bill also requires future solar installers to have an electrician's license and imposes penalties on uncertified electrical workers.

Republicans, including Sen. John Campbell, R-Irvine, an original co-author who had his name removed last week, contend that the change will drive up installation costs as much as 30 percent...

...But Democrats defend the change as minor because they say most workers on large installation projects already receive a "prevailing wage."
In other California environmental news, an SF Chronicle editorial says the state Senate should vote down the Governor's appointment of an energy industry lobbyist to the state air resources board. And the NY Times reviews the natural gas Honda Civic GX, available now in limited quantity in California. ("The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, an environmental advocacy group, calls it the greenest car in America.")


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