Schwarzenegger returns with new, revamped solar initiative

Yesterday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) joined state senators from both parties to introduce a new version of his solar plan. What David Hochschild of Vote Solar called “the most ambitious solar initiative ever proposed in the United States” would offer substantial rebates to homeowners who install solar panels, require big developers to offer solar as an option (10 percent of customers tend to opt for it if it’s offered), and extend a program of solar-energy tax credits. Last year’s “million solar roofs” initiative was defeated after developers objected to a provision mandating that a certain proportion of new homes be built with solar. That provision is gone from the new version, and observers say the two bills that would implement the plan have a good chance of passing. California — already the third-largest solar market after Germany and Japan — looks set to become what Hochschild calls “the Saudi Arabia of sunlight.”