New Solar Access Act aims to implement automated solar permitting in most California cities



By Kelsey Misbrener : solarpowerworld – excerpt

Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced SB 617, the Solar Access Act. SB 617 implements automated solar permitting in local jurisdictions with over 10,000 residents. This will allow for remote inspections and approvals of residential solar and solar + storage systems, which will greatly decrease approval times, cut permitting costs for local governments and homeowners, and help California meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. The bill would also allocate $20 million to help AHJs switch to automated solar permitting, according to SEIA… (more)

Great to see our state reps are helping companies install the systems faster. Where is the support for the owners of the solar systems to protect them from shade of new taller buildings after they are installed? Could we get an amendment to the Solar Shade Act to include future tall buildings that cast a shadow as well as the plants? Perhaps just add some language to the Solar Shade Control Act to include shadows from new buildings. One of major concerns of single family homeowners over SB 9 and SB 10 is the lack of protection for their solar systems that many rely on to not only lower their monthly electric bills, but also mitigate the frequent power outages California is famous for.

Solar Shade Control Act

Senate Bill 1399. The Bill strikes a balance between trees and solar, and provides an exemption from the Solar Shade Control Act for preexisting trees. It:

  • Protects trees and shrubs planted prior to the installation of a solar collector;
  • Eliminates criminal prosecution as a penalty for violation of the law
  • Provides a mechanism for written notice between neighbors;
  • Makes it easier for local communities to adopt and enforce their own local ordinances on the subject; and
  • Clarifies various provisions of the law which were vague or confusing.

Debt Is No Reason to Fear Trillions in Green Spending

by Noah Smith, Bloomberg Green  : marinpost – excerpt

“The investment is modest compared with other major infrastructure projects in U.S. history, and these projects will give back more than they cost.”

President Joe Biden and other leaders are proposing large amounts of new government investment in order to decarbonize the U.S. economy. These plans will inevitably encounter deficit scolds who will balk at the amount of new debt required. But taking on debt to finance this particular kind of investment isn’t dangerous… more

Renderings Revealed for 321 Florida Street, Mission District, San Francisco

Renderings Revealed for 321 Florida Street, Mission District, San Francisco

By Andrew Nelson : sfyimby – excerpt (includes graphics)

New building permits have been filed for a nine-story mixed-use building at 321 Florida Street in the Mission District, San Francisco. Led by DM Development, the project will replace surface parking with 168 new apartments and ground-floor retail. 31 affordable units will be included thanks to the State Density Bonus program, first passed in 1979, with several amendments since. Construction is expected to cost $42 million, with DM Development in charge of the project…(more)

There were 7 stories, and then there were 9. Thanks to our Sacramento politicians for pushing the envelope every higher. We had a 7 story project that would have been a much better fit for the neighborhood, without imposing a nasty shadow over the block and the nearby park, but, now we have a proposal for another ugly tower that will impose a shadow over the entire block, including an existing solar power system.

Allowing this project to proceed is an affront to all independent solar power owners who may face similar threats if this matter is not addressed. The government has invested tax payer dollars, set up tax incentive programs and encouraged people to invest in alternative energy systems in an effort to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Now is the time to protect our investments, and our right to continue relying on the sun.

Jonathan Scott’s Power Trip

kqed – play video

Solar energy evangelist and “Property Brother” Jonathan Scott journeys all across the U.S. to uncover why clean, renewable energy isn’t available to all. While traveling to learn both the obstacles and opportunities for achieving energy freedom, Jonathan talks with conservatives fighting for solar freedom; sits down with farmers struggling to make ends meet; engages coal workers desperate for a new, healthy means of making an income; the Navajo Nation who built a utility-scale solar plant; religious leaders who made a desperate attempt to help meet their community’s energy needs; and politicians at the forefront of the battle for energy freedom…(more)

Safe Harbor Basics

chintpowersystems – excerpt

this may be a product site, but it explains safe harbor financing options for people who are not aware of the options.

Safe Harbor gives solar developers and contractors a vehicle to take advantage of current ITC solar tax credit rates for projects that won’t be completed in the current calendar year. In 2020, the tax credit is 26%, drops to 22% in 2021, and 10% for commercial and utility-scale projects in 2022.

Projects can use Safe Harbor rules in two ways – either with a 5% financial investment toward physical products to be used in the construction of the project or with strong evidence to show project start prior to the end of the year along with proof of continuous work.

Projects must be completed and in service within 48 months of start date to be eligible.

For companies purchasing equipment to meet the 5% financial investment, purchases must be made (money exchanged hands) by December 31, 2020, and delivery of said products must occur by March 31, 2021.

If you are unsure if your project will qualify for Safe Harbor, consult an attorney…(more)

Electrifying Homes And Cars Could Save The Climate — And $2,500 Per U.S. Household

By Alexander C. Kaufman : huffpost – excerpt

In a counterintuitive twist on what’s become green dogma on decarbonization,
“it’s actually suburban households that do the best,”…

New research shows that the U.S. can rapidly decarbonize with existing technology and no real lifestyle changes.

Optimistic visions of America’s climate future look dramatically different from life today. The population abandons the suburbs for dense, efficient urban housing. Personal cars give way to bikes and green public transit. Those who can make the sacrifice sweat out the summer heat, rationing the air conditioning for those who most need it.

The alternative, so goes this line of thinking, is apocalyptic chaos.

But what if Americans could drive the same miles and blast the A/C to cool single-family suburban homes all summer long and actually reduce U.S. emissions of climate-changing gases by 40%? Not only is it possible, according to a new study, the average household would save up to $2,500 a year and do it with technology that’s on the market today.

The finding, published Thursday morning, is the second major report from Saul Griffith, the physicist, MacArthur “genius grant” winner and energy researcher behind the group Rewiring America.

The group, which aims to rapidly decarbonize the U.S. by electrifying all aspects of the economy, made its debut in July with a report that found doing so would create 25 million good-paying jobs and eliminate roughly 75% of the country’s carbon emissions in the next 15 years(more)

We will soon find out how well solar performs, as our building is having an EV system installed on one of our roofs this year. We were told to anticipate a $50K dollar a year savings in electricity once the system is up and running.

It seems that Citizens are better off when they are capable of taking care of themselves and less reliant on government systems that are overly complex, subject to fail, and lack accountability when they do not perform as anticipated.

Huge win for solar!


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From Solar United Neighbors:

Thanks to everyone who took actions to protect Solar systems!

Together, we stood up for solar rights — and we won! Thank you!

You spoke and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) listened. Today, FERC unanimously dismissed a petition to end net metering.

Anti-solar interests tried to deny solar owners fair compensation for the solar they produce.

But they had to go through us, and we won.

The New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) is a secretive utility front-group. Earlier this spring, it asked FERC to take away states’ power to administer net metering.

If NERA had gotten its way, utilities would be able to credit solar owners at a rate lower than what they deserve. More than 56,000 individuals wrote to FERC, asking them to protect our solar rights.

This shows that solar supporters like you have power. We can accomplish big wins when we join together!

Now, join us to keep this momentum going!

We’re hosting a free webinar next week to share how solar supporters like you can help secure more victories just like this one.

Solar Advocacy from your Couch
Friday, July 24
1:00 – 2:00 pm ET

Thank you for standing up for solar rights!

Glen Brand

Anya Schoolman
Solar United Neighbors

P.S Share the good news with your networks on Facebook or Twitter!

Sonoma-Mendocino rebate program covers costs of electric vehicle chargers

By Guy Kovner, The Press Democrat : northbaybusinessjournal – excerpt

Businesses, government agencies and apartment buildings in Sonoma and Mendocino counties may apply this week for rebates that will cover all or most of the cost of installing electric vehicle charging stations.

Nearly $7 million in state and local funding is available for a rebate program that aims to establish 550 new chargers in the two counties over the next three years — aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

“We want to make them more prevalent,” said Nelson Lomeli, program manager at Sonoma Clean Power, which is partnering with a California Energy Commission program on the rebates.

The partnership “furthers Sonoma Clean Power’s mission of turning the tide on the climate crisis through bold ideas and practical programs,” he said…

For information on the rebate program and instructions on applying for a rebate, go to…. (more)

You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 707-521-5457 or You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 707-521-5457 or guy.kovner. On Twitter @guykovner.

We should all have the right to produce our own solar power

Together, we can make rooftop solar the cornerstone of a modern clean energy system. – a national organization.

56,605 people from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. acted to make sure the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) heard our demand to protect solar rights. Thank you!

For comparison, just two individuals wrote to ask FERC to take away the fair credit that solar owners earn.

Earlier this spring, a secretive front-group, the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA), asked the FERC to take away states’ power to administer net metering. This egregious attack on our solar rights would allow utilities to credit solar owners at a rate lower than what they deserve.

NERA’s unfounded attack on solar sparked an unprecedented response from elected officials, state regulators, and other experts.

They spoke with one resounding voice: Reject this attack on solar…

This map shows which states submitted comments supporting solar. It demonstrates the broad geographic and ideological support solar now has.

Map showing broad support for solar across the country

What happens next?

There are several things FERC could do:

Reject NERA’s petition. This is great. It means your solar rights are protected quickly and decisively.

Nothing. This is ok, but it adds uncertainty to the market – so less good.

Open a full proceeding. This is worse. It means regulators will hear arguments from both sides and issue a ruling. Fortunately, solar supporters still have the law and broad, bi-partisan support on our side.

FERC has no deadline by which it must take action. We’ll keep you up to date on what you can do to keep fighting for our solar rights nationally and in your community.


Solar United Neighbors