ORIGINAL REPORTING: Will California's 100% renewables goal get through the political process?
Will California's 100% renewables goal survive the political process? With current clean energy goals in sight, liberal lawmakers are pushing the state to ratchet up its ambitions. But utility companies could prove a powerful roadblock.
Herman K. Trabish, June 14, 2017 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: California continues to expand and refine its awe-inspiring New Energy efforts.
Almost two-thirds of utility professionals expecting moderate or significant growth in community shared renewables over the next ten years. There are now at least 183 utility-led community solar programs with almost 380 MW in online capacity, according to the most recent Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) count. That includes 22 investor-owned utility (IOU) programs with 257 MW of capacity, 30 public power utility (muni) programs representing 41 MW, and 131 rural electric cooperative (co-op) programs with 80 MW of capacity. Those numbers are up from June 2017’s 13 IOU programs representing 91 MW, 22 muni programs with 29 MW, and 63 co-op programs with 43 MW. There are also 848 MW of announced projects in the pipeline, SEPA Utility Strategy Manager Dan Chwastyk told Utility Dive.
Enough community solar has been developed to make clear what is needed and what obstacles to avoid as projects are being planned and built, Tom Hunt, policy director for the Clean Energy Collective (CEC) told Utility Dive. Every utility leader reached by Utility Dive mentioned community solar’s basic appeal in offering a chance to go solar for customers who cannot afford or access rooftop systems. That element is fundamental to community solar’s market potential, recently estimated by NREL to be between 32% to 49% of the overall distributed PV market in 2020 and represent between $8.2 billion and $16.3 billion in cumulative investment. Where state policy is in place, a utility customer can purchase a share in an array built by either a utility or a private developer. The utility credits the customer’s bill for the exported electricity. Where there is no state policy, a utility can offer its own program… click here for more