California energy utilities, including Pacific Gas & Electric, must start paying homeowners for the extra solar power that their solar-roof panels produce, under a bill signed late Sunday by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Previously, utilities could just take the solar power for free, providing no incentive for homeowners to become more fuel efficient. In addition, the new law will provide a new incentive for homeowners to install rooftop solar systems.
According to the San Jose Mercury News and the Los Angeles Times, the governor also signed into law a bill that provides incentives for commercial properties to install solar power systems. The law requires state utilities to buy the power at a price above market-rate. As a result, the legislation could spur commercial property owners to become solar power producers. A similar law has been successful in Germany.