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S.B.843, legislation that would establish a framework for shared community renewable energy systems for California's utility customers, would create thousands of local jobs and deliver significant economic benefits to the state, according to a new report from Vote Solar, a nonprofit grassroots organization.

Under the legislation, authored by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, customers in Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric's service territories would be able to participate in community solar programs. The customers would receive credit on their utility bills for their portion of the clean power generated, as if those renewable energy systems were located at their own home or business.

According to Vote Solar, three out of four energy customers - including the state's millions of renters - are currently unable to generate their own on-site power from solar, wind and other renewables. S.B.843 is designed to offer those customers a new path to clean energy and spur additional private sector investment and job growth in California's clean energy sector.

Without requiring any public funding, the bill is expected to deploy 2 GW of new renewable energy capacity and approximately double the amount of rooftop solar currently installed in the state, Vote Solar adds.

"In very real terms, S.B.843 would be the job-creation equivalent of one of California's largest employers, putting more people to work in the state than Cisco or Applied Materials," says Hannah Masterjohn, policy advocate at Vote Solar and primary author of the report. "By simply enabling more Californians to invest in and receive the benefits of renewable energy systems, the state can unleash tremendous economic activity without using any precious state funds."

In addition to creating at least 12,000 direct and induced local jobs, the bill would generate $230 million in tax revenues and provide $7.5 billion in total economic output, according to the report. This includes wages, salaries and revenues that can be reinvested into the state economy.

The full report is available here.


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