As this San Francisco Chronicle op-ed notes, the California Public Utilities Commission is expected to revive some portions of California’s SB1 (the "million solar roofs" legislation) tomorrow.
(Grist readers will recall that SB1 died earlier this year, a casualty of squabbling between organized labor and state Republicans.)
Though there are some parts of SB1 the CPUC cannot replicate with regulation, the steps they’re taking are considerable. This is from an email correspondence with David Hochschild of the Vote Solar Initiative:
Tomorrow, we expect the California Public Utilities Commission to issue their proposed decision implement a 10 year, $3 billion solar program. This will be the largest solar energy incentive program in nation and the 2nd largest in the world after Germany. It will be followed by a 30 day public comment period and then it is expected to be approved by the Commissioners in January.
More heartening still is the fact that the CPUC seems to be responding to a genuine groundswell of public support:
The public pressure to implement this program has been nothing less than inspiring. Over the last two months, 43,000 people wrote to the Public Utilities Commissioners to ask them to pass the Million Solar Roofs program (we worked with Moveon and about 10 other groups to do this). This is more public comment than the PUC has gotten on any issue they have ever considered, including the energy crisis. It shows public support for solar and renewables has reached a new threshold.
If this goes through, and doesn’t get screwed up by the legislature again, it could establish what solar technology has long desperately needed: A long-term, predictable incentive.