California solar program has reached 66% of goal, report says

The California Solar Initiative has installed 66% of its total goal, within another 19% reserved in pending projects, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) said in a report July 10.

This equals an estimated 1,629 MW of installed solar capacity at 167,878 customer sites in the investor-owned utility territories through the end of the first quarter of 2013, CPUC said. That’s enough to power approximately 150,000 homes and avoid building three power plants, according to CPUC.

In January 2007, California began an unprecedented $3.3bn ratepayer-funded effort to install 3,000 MW of new solar over the next decade and drive down the cost of solar generating equipment.

CPUC’s portion of the solar effort is known as the California Solar Initiative (CSI). It has a $2.2bn budget and a goal of 1,940 MW of solar capacity by the end of 2016.

A record 391 MW were installed statewide in 2012, a growth of 26% from 2011, according to the report. Pacific Gas and Electric, a subsidiary of PG&E (NYSE:PCG), achieved the most installations in the non-residential sector of any investor-owned utility, having met 70% of their non-residential installation goal.

Applicants to the low income portion of CSI, known as the Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes program, have received $64m in support for their residential solar systems while the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) program has completed 287 projects representing a total capacity of 18.4 MW.

All but 92 MW, or 6%, of solar capacity in the state is signed up for net energy metering. CPUC has initiated a study on the costs and benefits of net metering, which should be released later this year.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.