California’s Million Solar Roofs bill dies in legislature

Partisan squabbling effectively killed California’s closely watched Million Solar Roofs legislation last week, as the state Assembly session ended on Thursday with no vote on the bill. The measure, which would have dramatically boosted the state’s use of solar power by providing incentives for businesses and homeowners to install photovoltaic systems, initially had broad backing from across the political spectrum, but Republicans and Democrats failed to reach a compromise over Democrat-sponsored provisions that would have required workers on large commercial solar installations to be paid union-level prevailing wages. Many Republicans said the provisions would be too costly, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said he’d veto the bill unless they were changed. Now, under Schwarzenegger’s direction, the state’s Public Utilities Commission is expected to implement some aspects of the Million Solar Roofs plan, but others would still require legislative approval.