Voting Solar in California

May 14, 2022 2 min

Voting Solar in California

Why voting for solar policies is important

California’s solar industry is the most successful in the country, having installed over 1,650 megawatts of solar capacity over the years.

Why has solar seen so much success in California? Part of the reason undoubtedly lies with the solar industry, which has streamlined the solar installation process and made it easier and more affordable to go solar than in the past.

The other part, however, lies squarely with voters who have elected politicians dedicated to smart energy policies and solar-friendly initiatives. Educating yourself about how to help solar – and those who would harm it – lets you make the right decision in the voting booth.

  • Why are pro-solar policies important?
    • Friendly policies have made California the number one state for solar
  • Learning about politicians
    • Discover who is for solar and who would dismantle friendly policies
  • Voting for solar
    • Explore what friendly policies are on the table and how to enact them

Why are pro-solar policies important?

In the first quarter of 2013 alone, California installed 408 megawatts of solar capacity, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. That’s over nine times the capacity that New Jersey, the next highest state on the list, installed during the same time period.

California’s high level of success isn’t incidental, but represents years of smart policies put in place by voters who care about solar. Since the 1990s, California politicians have pushed for policies like rebates, tax credits, and other incentives aimed at expanding solar.

Pro-solar policies like incentives and tax credits not only make solar more appealing, but also encourage competition that lowers prices. Over the course of just a few months, California solar system prices fell an additional15% in 2013.

Today, many of the incentive programs put in place are winding down, or being contested by those hostile to solar. Learning about which politicians support renewable energy is an important step you can take to keeping pro-solar policies in place in California.

Learning about politicians

Unfortunately, corporate interests sometimes overshadow the interests of voters in our country.

Lobbyists representing the fossil fuel industries and utility companies spend millions of dollars each year on politicians who are anti-solar. By learning about those contributions, you can elect the right politicians who will keep solar strong in California.

Organizations like Open Secrets track political donations by industry and politician, letting you see who is donating their money to whom. For example, California electric utility PG&E gave over $2.34 million to politicians in 2012.

Considering how hostile PG&E has been toward expanding solar incentives, and it’s not hard to suspect that the majority of those donations went to politicians who are anti-solar.

Other organizations can also help you learn about pro-solar politicians and their rivals. Some of those include:

Voting for solar

Ultimately, it’s up to voters in California to inform themselves about the issues and vote for solar-friendly policies.

The next big solar policy push in California will likely be over solar permitting rules, which represent a major barrier to many who would go solar. Local governments have set up their own inspection and permitting fee rules, creating a confusing mixture of regulations throughout the state.

Solar industry leaders want those rules to become streamlined and more universal, predicting that an easier-to-understand permitting process would increase access to solar.

You can ensure those policies come into place by voting for those who support solar. If you want to learn more about who, and what, to vote for, contact local installers and ask them about solar policies.