Friday, May 11, 2012

Austin City Council to Form Solar Committee

Under pressure from solar-power advocates who fear Austin may short-circuit a budding local industry, the Austin City Council is rethinking the city's strategy for expanding solar power.
Solar panels cover the roofs of homes in the Mueller
development. Facing a budget pinch and its first base-rate increase
in 18 years, Austin Energy has reduced the size of the incentives
it offers on rooftop solar.

The council is scheduled to vote Thursday to create a "Local Solar Advisory Committee" charged with studying how best to grow the industry. One of the committee's major tasks will be resolving a disagreement between the solar industry and Austin Energy about where to build solar, and when.

Solar advocates envision a push for 300 megawatts of local solar capacity — mostly on rooftops — over the next decade, up from about 6 megawatts now. (Austin Energy can now generate up to about 2,800 megawatts.)

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