California regulators approve landmark solar-power plan

With one eco-tastic vote, California is set to become a global clean-energy leader: Yesterday, the state’s energy regulators approved about $3 billion in subsidies to promote solar power. Rebates will be paid to residential and business utility customers to encourage installation of enough rooftop solar-power systems by 2017 to generate 3,000 megawatts of electricity — enough to power about 2.2 million homes, and the equivalent of six new power plants. The 3-1 vote by the California Public Utilities Commission is a major victory for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), who took the issue to the PUC after his “Million Solar Roofs” plan died in the state legislature last year amid partisan squabbling. Said one delighted clean-energy activist, “We have a big, bold, meaningful solar program that’s going to reduce costs and make this more than just a boutique technology for millionaires and backward hippies.”