California: A Trendsetter with Renewable Energy

California Sun

The Golden State might “strike gold” in 2018 in relation to going – Senate Bill 100 is up for reevaluation & it could have a solar impact.

Those who stay on top of solar news in the United States and applaud efforts leaning towards the use of renewable energy or solar power will remember that earlier this year, a revolutionary measure was voted on in California regarding the state’s energy production. This revolutionary measure in relation to solar is referred to as Senate Bill 100. Its objective is to increase the 2030 goal to 60 percent (up from 50 percent) with regards to clean energy generation. The goal set forth by the solar-friendly bill aims to have a totally clean grid by the year 2045. In May of 2017, the bill passed in the California state Senate. It was a given that the bill was going to be comparable to an experiment, at least as per Mike O’Boyle (an individual studying the power sector at Energy Innovation), because a real working example for a completely renewable system does not exist. However, he still thought the bill would be doable.

A Second Chance for this “Solar” Bill…Coming Soon!

Unfortunately, the solar-focused law which would have mandated that by 2045, all energy come from carbon-free sources, did not pass. If it had passed, California would have been the biggest economy on Earth to make such a huge clean/solar energy pledge and to take such a big step towards solar. What happened? The solar-friendly bill ended up failing with regards to resistance from public utility companies and union workers. Why is it still important? What does this “failed” bill have to do with current goals in relation to solar? The solar-oriented bill might be considered again in 2018. Back in 2006, a law was authored by Fran Pavley, former state senator, binding California to all-encompassing per-capita carbon cuts that weren’t eclipsed until 2015 when Hawaii decided to do more with regards to climate change policies.

It is important to note that since Hawaii has taken major steps, states like Vermont, Oregon and New York have passed similar laws focused on solar energy, which aim to source half of their energy from renewable sources by the 2030s. (Hawaii is steering away from fossil fuels with tools like federal clean energy subsidies but the problem is that these tools are being phased out.)

Obama & Solar Energy – Beneficial Subsidies That Might Expire

Obama implemented clean energy subsidies that have been hugely credited with keeping the cost of wind energy down by two-thirds, and they have increased solar production tenfold. Unfortunately, unless they are extended (which isn’t likely to happen with the Trump administration at this time, as anyone who follows solar happenings will realize) they are going to expire in the 2020s. The good news is that even if these subsidies do end up expiring, they have brought so much momentum to solar and clean energy, and the idea of overtaking fossil fuels. The momentum has really caught on in places such as Hawaii and California.

California & Solar Energy Momentum

Hawaii is just an example of a place that has benefitted from federal money when it comes to solar – but the people who live there have still worked to discover ways to incentivize locals by offering perks such as free parking or preferential parking for EVs, and more to push towards going solar. Other states, to include California have been strengthened by the clean energy momentum. It seems that with or without federal money, they will work to foster collaboration with regards to government, business, and regulators. It looks as though many states recognize how important solar power and renewable energy are. Some cities are even requiring by law that new homes be built with the inclusion of solar panels.

Future Solar Steps for California

California might ban fossil fuel cars by the year 2040, according to, in yet another step towards going solar. And California isn’t alone in this solar endeavor. Other countries are coming up with long-term objectives to ban vehicles powered by fossil fuels – a huge step towards going solar. Great Britain and France, for instance, want to eliminate diesel and gas burners by 2040, in an attempt to take advantage of the environmental benefits of solar energy. California does tend to be a trendsetter in regards to vehicle emissions. As a matter of fact, back in 1984, California was the first state to implement regular emissions testing. Additionally, the California Air Resources Board sets standards for air pollution that are actually higher than federal standards set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency. Other states are following their lead.

Clearly, states are taking steps towards going solar, with or without Senate Bill 100. Following solar news in the coming months will reveal how far states will be able to go, but it has been an exciting journey thus far as solar gains momentum in beautiful states such as California, even if there are occasional setbacks. No matter one’s stance on the benefits of solar energy, it is clear that solar is certainly gaining a great deal of attention.




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Carissa lives in Florida with her dachshund and enjoys traveling all over the country. She has been a writer for more than a decade, previously having worked for the Walt Disney Company. Her interests include exploring National Parks, hiking, crafting and cooking.


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