California SB 1399 Proposes to Expand Renewable Energy Opportunities for Non-Residential Customers
By Buck Endemann and Nicholas Nahum
Introduced in February by State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), California Senate Bill (“SB”) 1399 would create a new program in which non-residential customers could facilitate the development of off-site renewable energy projects of up to 20 megawatts (“MW”) to satisfy their energy needs.
Traditionally, California’s “over the fence” rule limits distributed solar producers to selling power directly to two or fewer properties and only if such properties are located immediately adjacent to the property where the power is produced.  These restrictions, along with California’s net metering tariffs, have historically deterred property owners from installing distributed energy generation beyond what is necessary to service their on-site electricity needs. Properties with little electricity demand but large generating potential (like warehouses or parking lots) are therefore provided little incentive to invest in on-site solar projects without a willing (and often large) buyer.