Governor Signs Affordable Solar Power Financing Bill

August 04, 2008
Contact: Rodney Foo @  (408) 282-8920
A second bill, AB 1826, correcting an inequity in court fees, is also signed into law

Two bills introduced by Assembly Member Jim Beall, Jr. were signed into law by the Governor last week, including one that helps property owners pay for the installation of solar panels with the assistance of local government financing. The urgency bill went into affect immediately with the Governor’s signature.

“AB 811 can be a great financing alternative for homeowners and businesses who want to put in energy-efficient upgrades but were stopped by high up-front costs,’’ Beall said. “And this bill’s goals are to decrease the burning of fossil fuels and to reverse global climate change.’’

Assembly Bill 811, jointly authored by Beall, D-San Jose, and Assembly Member Lloyd Levine, D-Woodland Hills, allows local governments to create special assessment districts for the installation of solar panels, dual pane windows and high efficiency heating and air conditioning units.

Under AB 811, the districts would sell bonds and lend that money to property owners to buy and install energy-saving improvements. The district would recoup the money through a special assessment on the property tax assessment.

The second bill signed – AB 1826 – sets a uniform $320 court filing fee for people seeking the return of property seized during an arrest involving controlled substances.

Existing law allows for the property valued at $5,000 or less to be returned without a filing fee. Property worth $5,000 to $25,000 is treated by the courts as unlimited civil cases and people seeking recovery are charged a $320 fee. However, some courts have charged varying fee amounts.

Assembly Bill 1826 not only clarifies the amount to be charge but ensures the same fee amount is collected by state courts for an identical action.

“AB 1826 eliminates the inequity of one court charging a set fee for the return of seized property while a different court in a different county charges a lower or higher fee for that same action,’’ Beall said.

The bill goes into affect on Jan. 1, 2009.