What does this bill do?
SB 152 allows Alaskans to purchase shares in community-owned solar arrays, not located on their home or property. Community solar arrays or “solar gardens” can be owned by utilities, communities, or individual power producers. Purchasing a share in a “solar garden” is often cheaper than investing in rooftop solar and open up energy savings to renters and low-income community members who can’t afford renewable energy.
Why should AK pass this law?
41 states currently use community solar, and Alaska is one of the last states to implement community solar programs. In states with community solar, consumers see an average of 10% savings on electricity bills, and when arrays are owned by community members and organizations, the shared savings flow back into the community to build community wealth. 79,000 Alaskans are currently living below the Federal poverty level, and over 260,000 Alaskans live in rental housing. This bill opens the door to long-term energy savings, good-paying jobs, and a real pathway towards much-needed energy and economic diversity for all Alaskans.
Why does The Alaska Center Support it?
Community solar is an important step toward making renewable energy accessible to all Alaskans. We believe that renewables are a necessary part of a just transition, and this bill will remove some of the barriers that keep too many Alaskans dependent on extractive energies and give them more agency in their utilities. Community Solar is a step in the right direction toward climate justice. It’s the simplest, most equitable, and least expensive way to decarbonize Alaska’s energy system!