We live in a world where utility companies regularly use ratepayer funds to lobby state representatives for changes to laws and rules that would curb the growth of rooftop solar, and even reverse decades-old rules like net metering in an effort to keep profitability high. So naturally, solar advocates find it necessary to band together to protect the rights of solar owners to have panels on their roofs, batteries attached to their systems, and fair compensation for the energy they generate and the public benefits they provide.
That’s where the Solar Rights Alliance (SRA) comes in. The group, which represents solar owners and solar-interested parties in California, operates under the belief that everyone has “the right to make and store (their) own energy from the sun without interference, discrimination or red tape from the utilities or the government.”
What is the Solar Rights Alliance, and what do they do?
The SRA is a non-profit 501(c)4 organization. According to the IRS, that designation means they “must be operated exclusively to promote social welfare.”
The group was organized in 2018 to advocate for solar owners and the general welfare of all citizens of California, by working to spread important information about solar ownership, and influence lawmakers to protect the rights of solar owners. The group maintains a website with information about their advocacy work and consumer-focused articles at https://www.solarrights.org/.
The California Solar Bill of Rights
One of the most notable accomplishments of this not-yet-year-old organization is the spearheading of the Solar Bill of Rights, (Senate Bill 288), which is a bipartisan effort to codify new rules that protect California solar owners’ right to generate their own power, store that power on-site, and participate in supporting the energy grid.
The Solar Bill of Rights was introduced into the state Senate in February of 2019 by Democrat Scott Weiner and Republican Jim Nielsen, and as of this writing (March 2019), has been referred to the committee of Energy, Utilities, and Commerce.
If signed into law, the Solar Bill of Rights would provide broad protections for California solar owners from potential future attacks on their right to generate, store, and use their own electricity. This effort follows a nationwide 2009 “Solar Bill of Rights” proposal from former Solar Energy Industries of America (SEIA) Rhone Resch, which has since been scrubbed from the SEIA site and is apparently no longer a part of that organization’s goals.
If the California measure is successful, it could serve as a blueprint for other state legislatures, or even be included in a nationwide clean-energy bill in the coming years.
How you can get involved with the SRA
If you’re a solar homeowner or just interested in solar power and want to be notified of ways you can help fight for solar rights, you can join the SRA on their website.
If you’d like to learn more about the Solar Bill of Rights, read more on the SRA’s website.
Last modified: March 6, 2019