Nudge Solar at the Texas Legislature

We need your help to make sure the current Legislature moves forward for clean solar power in Texas. 

Please phone or email your legislator today and ask them — Help Texas to take advantage of our ample solar power resource in this state and build green jobs by passing good bills that encourage more and more solar power in Texas.  Ask them to support the following bills:

HB 340 by Gallego — Solar Bill of Rights
HB 774 by Anchia — Non-wind Renewable Portfolio Standard
HB 2961 by Darby — Statewide Solar Incentives
HB 3532 by Strama — Solar on School Incentives

Use this link to get your Legislators’ contact info and call or email them today!Thank you!

Here’s the scoop —

It isn’t final, but the two smaller solar bills are moving through the House and Senate, even as the larger ones — remain bottled up in committee.

First, HB 362 by Solomons passed the House on a 147-3 vote. That’s right 147 votes — Republicans and Democrats — for a better solar policy in Homeowner Associations. The bill is a compromise with the Homeowner Associations, but it does say essentially — homeowner you want to put solar on your roof, you must ask the HOA, but if it meets certain basic criteria – they have to approve it. For years, HOAs have either adopted no solar policy or have simply been considering solar panels on a case by case basis — often ruling against homeowners.

Senator West has passed a similar bill in the Senate, SB 238, though it includes language that is less helpful to solar panels than the Solomons bill. Word at the Pink Dome is that each author will pick up the other’s bill, move it through the process and figure out a compromise.

Another “small” bill — SB 981 by Corona clarifies that owners or operators of solar and other renewable “onsite” power do not have to register as power generating companies and Texas allows “third-party ownership” in our competitive market. The bill passed through committee and the full Senate without a problem. Both Anchia and Crownover — who have similar bills in the house — are in line to help get it through the House.

Bigger bills on solar — such as HB 340 by Gallego — which includes a policy for payments on surplus electricity generated by solar – is bottled up in State Affairs committee while we work out a compromise for the smaller Retail Electric Providers concerned about the mandate to buy-back solar power from onsite owners. The big boys -Reliant and TXU are already on our side.

The big Renewable Portfolio Standard and Solar Rebate bills are still bottled up in the Energy Resources and State Affairs Committees despite our best efforts. Look for more as we make a pitched battle. An alternative by Mark Strama — HB 2429 — would create a rebate program for solar on schools and is being heard today in Energy Resources. This might have more support since it would help teach kids about solar and reduce school electricity bills in a time of tight budgets.

Cyrus Reed, Conservation Director, Lone Star Chapter, Sierra Club

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2 responses to “Nudge Solar at the Texas Legislature

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