California touts success of solar incentive program

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on July 2 issued a report that charts the tremendous progress made lately under California Solar Initiative (CSI), which helped customers install 620 MW of power in 2013, a growth of 73% over 2012.

In its 2014 Annual Program Assessment report, the CPUC said that through the end of the first quarter of 2014, an estimated 2,139 MW of solar capacity was installed on the customer side of the meter at 227,141 customer sites in the large investor-owned utility service territories. Of that, the California Solar Initiative General Market Program has installed 1,455 MW, or 83%, of its 1,750 MW program goal, with another 225 MW, or 13% of the goal, reserved in pending projects.

In January 2007, California began an unprecedented $3.3bn effort to install 3,000 MW of new solar over the next decade and transform the market by reducing the cost of solar generating equipment. The CPUC’s portion of the solar effort is known as the California Solar Initiative. It is the largest customer-side solar rebate program in the country, with a $2.2bn budget and a goal of 1,940 MW of solar capacity by the end of 2016 for the general market and low income solar programs.

“As incentives under the California Solar Initiative are sun-setting and solar adoption continues to grow on the customer side, it demonstrates the success of the program’s goal of market transformation,” said Edward Randolph, Director of the CPUC’s Energy Division. “Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric have reserved and installed enough solar capacity to reach their goals in the residential sector.”

The CSI Program focuses exclusively on solar energy systems used by investor-owned utility (IOU) customers who want to offset some or all of their onsite energy consumption. In the case of the solar PV program, the solar energy systems funded under the program reduce the customer’s electricity consumption from the grid. In the case of the solar thermal program, the solar energy systems reduce the customer’s gas or electricity consumption, depending upon the customer’s energy source for their existing hot water system.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.