In Golden State's solar boom, a tale of 'two Californias'
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
As excerpted from the Christian Science Monitor.
The Golden State may produce more solar energy than anywhere else in the country, but when it comes to being green, there are “two Californias,” says Assemblywoman Susan Eggman.
The mountainous “spine” of central California, as Ms. Eggman likes to call it, is very different from the coast: there are more low-income households, higher electricity bills, and more expensive estimates for solar panel installation.
To bring California’s green reputation to places like her hometown of Stockton, Calif., Eggman created the Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) program. Under Assembly Bill 693, the program fully subsidizes solar panels on multifamily buildings that are located in disadvantaged areas, have a number of federally subsidized units, or where the majority of tenants earn less than 60 percent of the area’s average income.
“If we are going to experience a revolution in how we think about energy, it should be for everyone, not just elites,” says Eggman. “If you give people a chance, and offer them an opportunity to be a part of this, they will do it.... We just haven't done a good enough job of extending the opportunity.”