CPUC Report Highlights California’s Continued Solar Success


The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) says that Californians continue to harness the power of the sun, in part through the assistance of the California Solar Initiative (CSI), which helped customers install 620 MW of power in 2013, a growth of 73% over 2012.

In its recently issued 2014 Annual Program Assessment report, CPUC says that through the end of the first quarter of this year, 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 a $3.3 billion effort to install 3 GW of new solar over the next decade and help transform the market for solar energy by reducing the cost of solar generating equipment. CPUC says CSI, the commission's portion of the effort, is the largest customer-side solar rebate program in the country, with a $2.2 billion 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," comments Edward Randolph, director of CPUC's energy division. In addition, Randolph notes that utilities Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Edison have all reserved and installed enough solar capacity to reach their goals in the residential sector.

Other highlights of the report include the following:

– PG&E and SDG&E territories have achieved the most installations in the non-residential sector (commercial, industrial, government, non-profit and agricultural properties), having met or nearly met 100% of their non-residential installation goals;Â

– Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes program applicants have received or reserved a total of $77 million of the available $92 million incentive budget in support for their residential solar systems;

– Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing applicants have received or reserved 100% of the available $95 million incentive budget;

– In just over four years of operation, the CSI-Thermal program has approved 1,665 applications for $22.7 million in incentives of the available $205 million budget; and

– All but 163 MW, or 9%, of solar capacity interconnected to the grid in the three large investor-owned utility territories is signed up for Net Energy Metering.

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