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California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE PRESS RELEASE Media Contact: Terrie Prosper, 415.703.1366, email@example.com
CPUC SOLAR PROGRAM SETS MILESTONE
FOR MOST REBATES RESERVED IN A SINGLE MONTH
SAN FRANCISCO, April 13, 2010 - The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today said the California Solar Initiative (CSI) achieved a milestone of over 50 megawatts (MW) of solar rebate reservations in a single month, an amount of capacity equivalent to a typical peaking power plant that provides energy during times of high electricity demand.
In March, 2,355 customers made reservations for cash rebates offered under the CSI program, totaling 12 MW of residential and 40 MW of non-residential (commercial, governmental, agricultural, non-profit) solar capacity. Once customers file a reservation they have 12 to 18 months to install their solar.
The CSI program offers solar incentives to energy users (except new homes) in investor-owned utility territories in California. The CSI program has a goal to install 1,940 MW of new solar by 2017. The $2.2 billion program will run until December 31, 2016, and incentive levels are designed to decline as more megawatts of solar are reserved and installed.
"Overall demand for solar incentives remains strong statewide, and we reached the amazing 50 MW of reservations in one month despite the slow pace of economic recovery in the building sector," said Molly Sterkel, the CPUC's project manager for the CSI program. The CSI program periodically sees spikes in demand in anticipation of incentive level declines, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E) both have imminent incentive level changes. "The magnitude of solar program demand in March is unprecedented and hopefully heralds a great summer building season for solar," added Sterkel.
Through the end of 2009, customers in the service areas of PG&E, SDG&E, and Southern California Edison had installed over 57,625 solar projects for a total of 541 MW. Installations in the first quarter of 2010 continued at a steady pace. There were 35 MW of projects installed in the first quarter, keeping up the 10 MW+/month pace that became the norm in 2009.
The CSI program is part of the Go Solar California campaign, which has three distinct programs, each with a portion of the statewide budget and solar installation goals:
1) The CPUC's CSI provides incentives to customers of PG&E, SDG&E, and Edison. These three utilities represent about 75-80 percent of homes and existing and new commercial, industrial, government, non-profit, and agricultural properties. The CSI program includes a solar photovoltaics rebate program; two solar programs targeted at affordable housing (one for single family and the other for multifamily affordable housing); as well as a research, development and demonstration program. In January, the CPUC authorized the CSI-Thermal program to provide incentives for solar hot water systems, expected to launch in May 2010.
2) The New Solar Homes Partnership, managed by the California Energy Commission, provides incentives for the installation of solar PV on new residential construction. The budget is $400 million over 10 years, with a goal of 360 megawatts.
3) The Publicly Owned Utilities program requires each municipal utility to offer a solar PV incentive program, an aggregate commitment of $784 million over 10 years, toward a goal of 700 megawatts.
Since its inception in 2007, the CSI has consistently seen robust levels of demand for solar rebates. Weekly program demand data, including new rebate applications, installed systems, and system costs can be found at www.CaliforniaSolarStatistics.ca.gov.
For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.