The California Public Utilities Commission released details of a $3.2-billion plan to generate 3,000 MWs of solar power in the state over the next 11 years. The initiative would cost the average residential customer about $7.00 per year. Incentives would be decreased from about $400 million in 2006 to just over $100 million in 2016.
On December 15th, the California PUC unanimously approved the first phase of the California Solar Initiative (CSI) that includes $300 million of funding originally allocated for the PUC’s Solar Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) in 2006. The PUC action is a substitute for a Million Solar Roofs legislative initiative that failed to be enacted earlier this year. Unlike the stalled legislative proposal, the PUC’s solar plan will not require that all home builders offer buyers the option of adding a solar electrical system.
Projects currently in the SGIP’s backlog will qualify for rebates of $3 per watt, while 2006 qualifying projects will receive $2.80 per watt.
The second phase of the 3,000 MW CSI program will be considered by the PUC in mid-January 2006. The proposed CSI program would provide $2.5 billion in incentives for solar projects on existing residential buildings, as well as all public buildings, industrial facilities, businesses, and agricultural facilities. There would also be $350 million in incentives for new homes, particularly developments. Once the program reaches its goal, solar will provide about 5 percent of California’s electricity needs.
The CSI program would provide incentives to photovoltaics, concentrating solar power, and solar water heating. All projects would have to be customer-sited and between one kilowatt and one megawatt in size. According to a report prepared by the PUC last summer, this $3.2 billion investment in solar could save California ratepayers an estimated $9 billion.