Massive Cuts Proposed for Austin Energy Solar Budget
It’s an important time for solar in Austin, so we will try to keep you updated as things progress.
Here’s the latest:
Instead of embracing the expanded solar goals recommended by the Austin Local Solar Advisory Committee (LSAC), Austin Energy has proposed slashing the solar rebate budget by 42% for the upcoming budget for fiscal year 2014.
The solar rebate budget supports both residential and commercial solar installations and has become increasingly popular. The program was projected to run out of money earlier this year, prompting Austin Energy to reduce the amount of the residential rebate from $2 per installed watt to $1.50 per installed watt.
Although solar costs have declined rapidly and are projected to continue that trend, rebates are still needed in the short term to help our local solar economy reach maturity. Rebates will likely be phased out between now and 2020, but now is not the time for dramatic cuts to a popular and successful program.
There are going to be several opportunities coming up to voice your support for solar:
- Monday, August 19th at 6pm in the Shudde Fath Conference Room at Austin Energy (721 Barton Springs Road): Electric Utility Commission meeting will include discussion of recommendations for the Austin Energy budget. Public input is welcomed at the beginning of the meeting and for each agenda item.
- Wednesday, August 21st at 3pm in the Boards and Commissions Room at Austin City Hall (301 West 2nd St): Emerging Technology and Telecommunications Committee meeting will include discussion of costs and benefits of solar compared to other energy sources. Public input is welcomed.
- (probably) Thursday, August 29th at 4pm in Council Chambers at Austin City Hall (301 West 2nd St): Public hearing on the proposed city budget. The purpose of this hearing will be to gather public input. We will update the day and time on this post if it changes.
In the meantime, if you haven’t already sent an email to the Mayor and City Council in support of expanding solar goals and funding, you can do so using this Public Citizen “action page.”
Spread the word and help our city be more sustainable.