A dark day for solar in SC…but the sun will continue to shine
I know the title of this post is a bit melodramatic, but I think it captures the sentiment that we all have after yesterday’s vote on H.4421, the pro-solar bill we’ve been talking about for the last few weeks.
We recently shared the great news that the pro-solar bill received second reading on April 5 and was on track to make crossover. This was a huge victory over the utilities and State Chamber who have fought solar jobs at every step.
This all changed yesterday (Tuesday). H.4421 was supposed to receive a routine third reading, but it was anything but routine.
Over the weekend and in to Monday the utilities and their supporters in the House drug out a never before used provision of state law to require a 2/3 vote of the House to pass the bill.
Essentially, they changed the rules of the game with only 1 minute to go.
That meant we needed 82 legislators to vote for solar.
After several valiant attempts to save the bill and address concerns, we fell short 61 in support of solar and 44 against. To be clear, H.4421 and solar jobs had a strong bipartisan majority in support. But without 82 votes, the bill didn’t reach the last minute threshold set by the Speaker and the utilities.
A big clean energy thank you goes out to 61 Representatives who voted in favor of solar jobs yesterday. And a special shout out to the passionate speeches from Representatives J. Smith, Powers Norrell, Ballentine, McCoy, Thigpen, Hart, Rutherford, Stavrinakis, Ott, Cobb-Hunter, Arrington, and Clary. Check out the full vote breakdown here. You can also check out this article in The State that outlines all the back and forth on the bill.
BUT WE’RE NOT DONE FIGHTING.
The tactics used by the utilities, their supporters in the House, and the Speaker have fired up our champions in the House and Senate even more to fight for solar jobs.
Though the most conventional way to pass a solar jobs bill is closed, it doesn’t mean we’re out of options. We will pursue every single path to fight for clean energy and solar jobs.
We will continue to fight this session to remove the net metering cap. We will fight for giving citizens and businesses the ability to reduce their power bills by choosing solar. And we will fight to move SC to a clean energy future.
The sun will continue to rise, solar will continue to be the future that SC needs and deserves, and we will continue to fight.
And speaking of fighting, over the course of the solar debate there were 14 votes on solar-related legislation. These votes tell a very clear story of who supports solar jobs and a clean energy future and who does not.
These votes will feature heavily in the endorsement conversations we’ll have with candidates and incumbents as well as the CVSC Board’s deliberations on endorsements over the coming weeks.
This June and November, we all go to the polls. We’ll provide direct feedback at the ballot box to the Representatives that voted against solar. Because elections matter. And their votes on conservation issues matter to you.
We’re not done. We’re just getting started.