Solar and the 83rd Legislature

 

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The 83rd Texas Legislature has convened and we encourage you to tell your representatives that you support the adoption of solar. We can guide you through the process with background information, a letter template, and talking points.

A note of thanks to Larry Howe from Plano Solar Advocates. Larry helped the TXSES Board create this template to assist citizens approach their state representatives with reasonable and thoughtful recommendations for the adoption of solar.

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           Solar Policy Information for the 2013 Texas Legislative Session

 

Policies at the state level can help provide the right regulatory environment for the use of solar energy and for the industry’s growth and expansion.  In Texas, we have a number of policies already in place that help.  Examples include:

·       The original Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)

·       Third party financing of solar systems

·       Guidelines and standards for distributed generation interconnection to the electric grid

·       Recent legislation that prevents HOAs (Home Owners Associations) from blocking the installation of solar panels on homes

However, as the 83rd Texas Legislative Session begins, there are number of additional key policy enhancements needed. These include:

·       Enhance the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)

·       Net Metering

      ·       Virtual Net Metering

Texas state legislators need to hear from their constituents on these topics. The attached documents provide information that the citizens of Texas can utilize to help them in their communications with their representatives.  

 

SECTION 1 – Brief list of benefits of solar energy for Texas

 

                   An example letter to your state legislator  (.pdf)

 

SECTION 3 - Specific talking points for key legislative actions needed in the 2013 Texas legislative session

 

To find your Texas State Senator, Texas State House Representative, and the associated contact information, the website www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx can be used. To follow a bill, go to www.capitol.state.tx.us

 

We will post bills as they are introduced -

 

HB 303-Eddie Rodriguez, Travis Co- A bill stating the intent of this legislature is that by Jan. 2020 at least 35% of the state's generating capacity be from renewable energy and 2% of generated capacity be from solar

 

HB 723 -Rafeal Anchia, Dallas -Of the renewable energy technology generating capacity installed to meet the goal of this subsection after September 1, 2005, the commission shall establish a target of having at least 500 megawatts of capacity from a renewable energy technology other than a source using wind energy. (3) "Tier 2 renewable energy technology" means tier 1 renewable energy technology, excluding technology that derives energy from wind, with a capacity of more than 150 kilowatts.

 

HB 546 Mark Strama, Pflugerville -Relating to the creation of renewable energy reinvestment zones and the abatement of ad valorem taxes on property of a renewable energy company located in such a zone.

 

SB 304  Jose Rodriguez, El Paso - A bill relating to requiring solar panels to be offered by certain builders of new homes. 

 

SB 305 Jose Rodreguez, El Paso -Relating to an exemption from the sales tax for certain solar energy devices.

 

SB 385 (Carona)/HB 1094 (Keffer) - These two bills compliment each other. In the House, Rep. Jim Keffer, an Eastland Republican who chairs the House Committee on Energy Resources, said many building owners don’t invest in conservation because of the time it takes to pay for itself.He has filed HB 1094, that would allow owners of commercial and industrial buildings to finance the cost of conservation upgrades for up to 20 years in cities or counties that create the special financing program, commonly called PACE. A synopsis of the Senate bill is available here.
 

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There are many organizations in Texas working to call attention to the importance of clean, water efficient, and affordable renewable energy. The following are just a few of those organizations we know who work hard for solar :

Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association

Public Citizen-Texas

Environment Texas

Environmental Defense Fund