TODAY’S STUDY: CALIFORNIA’S SOLAR PLAN IS SUCCEEDING
California Solar Initiative Annual Program Assessment
Tim Drew, James Loewen, Neal Reardon, Ehren Seybert and Melicia Charles, June 2013 (California Public Utilities Commission)
In January 2007, California began a $3.3 billion ratepayer-funded effort to install 3,000 megawatts (MW) of new solar over the next decade and transform the market for solar energy by reducing the cost of solar generating equipment. The California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) portion of the solar effort is known as the California Solar initiative (CSI) Program. The CSI program goal is to install 1,940 MW of solar capacity by the end of 2016, and, along with other statewide solar programs, transition the solar industry to a point where it can be self-sustaining without subsidies.
This Annual Program Assessment meets statutory requirement for an annual report to the Legislature on the progress of the CSI Program. Other state authorized programs, including the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) and publicly-owned utilities’ solar offerings, are not included in this report.
The market for solar generating equipment in California has grown at a rapid pace since the beginning of the CSI Program. The annual rate of new solar installations and the cumulative installed capacity both provide evidence that California is well along the path of achieving the installed capacity goals set forth by Senate Bill (SB) 1 in 2006, the legislation that authorized the CSI Program.
Key Report Contents
This report contains current information on distributed solar energy systems in California, including systems installed through the CSI Program and those installed through other incentive programs. In addition, this report provides detailed information on CSI Program participation, installed capacity, equipment costs, and program impacts. The report also includes information on the progress of other CSI Program components, including the Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes Program (SASH); the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing Program (MASH); the CSI-Thermal Program; the CSI-Thermal Low Income Program; and the Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) Program.
This report also includes information on Net Energy Metering (NEM) and other relevant policy updates.
Statewide Installed Solar Highlights
• Through the end of the first quarter of 2013, California has an estimated 1,629 MW of installed solar capacity on the customer side of the meter at 167,878 customer sites in the investor-owned utility (IOU) territories.
• A record 391 megawatts (MW) were installed statewide in 2012, a growth of 26 percent from 2011.
CSI General Market Program Highlights
• The CSI Program as a whole has installed 66 percent of its total program goal, with another 19 percent of the goal reserved in pending projects.
• PG&E and SDG&E territories have reserved and installed enough MW capacity to reach their goals in the residential sector.
• PG&E has achieved the most installations in the non-residential sector, having met 70% of their non-residential installation goal.
• The lowest installation rates for the residential sector are in SCE territory, where only 62% of the sector’s goals are complete.
• NEM tariffs and the Federal Income Tax Credit (ITC) are playing a larger role in the economics of individual systems as the CSI program begins to phase out.
Other Program Highlights
• Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH)
o Since the program was launched in December of 2008, SASH has received a total of 3,386 applications which have resulted in 8.5 MW of installed capacity on eligible homes, with another 1.8 MW currently in progress.
o SASH applicants have received a total of $64 million in support for their residential solar systems.
• Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH)
o As of March 31, 2013, MASH had 287 completed projects representing a total capacity of 18.4 MW. There are an additional 83 MASH projects in process, for a total capacity of 11.3 MW.
o Virtual Net Metering has allowed thousands of tenants to receive the direct benefits of solar as reductions in their monthly electric bills.
• CSI-Thermal Program
o In just over three years of operation, the program has received 1,215 applications for $56.3 million in incentives.
• Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment (RD&D) Program
o The CSI RD&D Program has conducted three project solicitations since its inception, resulting in grant funding for 23 projects totaling $28 million. The funded projects focused on the following areas:
Integration of solar PV into the electricity grid.
Energy generation technologies and business development.
Grid integration and production technologies.
o A fourth solicitation of $7 million is currently anticipated for the second quarter of 2013. The focus of the fourth solicitation will be cost-effective, safe, and reliable strategies for integrating PV into distribution systems.
Net Energy Metering
• All but 92 MW, or 6 percent, of solar capacity in the state is signed up for Net Energy Metering (NEM) tariffs.
• Pursuant to Assembly Bill (AB) 2514 (Bradford, 2012) and Decision (D.) 12-05-036, the Commission has initiated a study on the costs and benefits of NEM to ratepayers.
The study will be released later this year