Monday, June 27, 2005

California Solar Plan Criticized

(June 27, 2005) -- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger once again is pushing a plan to boost the state's solar output to 3,000 megawatts by 2018 from just 101 megawatts today, which would power more than 2 million homes and make six new natural gas-fired generating plants unnecessary.

The plan is experiencing opposition from businesses, utilities, unions, and consumer groups, mainly because of the costs involved.

The 10-year program would cost upwards of $3 billion, with a surcharge from the California Public Utilities Commission used to fund the program. This would force homeowners to spend an extra $15 per year on utilities. Additionally, Associated Builders and Contractors lobbyist Tim Coyle says homeowners would spend about $120 more per month on their mortgages to cover the cost of solar installations, but they would only shave $50 per month from their utility bills.

Other critics are concerned that Schwarzenegger wants most of the state alternative energy funding put toward solar power, jeopardizing the energy efficiency and conservation programs.

Source: Los Angeles Times (06/27/05); Lifsher, Marc

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