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State of Solar in California - Annual CSI Program Assessment Released


  12:34:38 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 441 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Solar Economics, SCE/CSI Rebates, Utilities, PWP, SCE, LADWP, BWP, GWP

State of Solar in California - Annual CSI Program Assessment Released

Three years into an ambitious ten year plan to install 3,000 MW of solar power on California rooftops, the State of Solar in California is surprisingly good - despite a difficult economy.  The California Solar Initiative covers that portion of the program under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and involves the three Investor-Owned Utilities in the state - PG&E, SCE and SDG& E.  The CPUC issued its Annual Program Assessment last week.   The CSI program, which is targeted to install some 1,940 MW of solar by the end of 2016 is already 42% of the way there.

More highlights from the Assessment after the break.

The Assessment has loads of interesting statistics and it is worth at least skimming the 91 page report.  Among the key findings:
  • CSI Incentives have Economic Leverage - For every dollar spent on incentives, there has been another $2.62 invested in solar power systems from other sources.  The CSI incentives have leveraged an additional $5.06 billion in other capital investments.
  • System Costs are Declining - using inflation adjusted data, costs for systems smaller than 10kW (i.e., most residential systems) have fallen by 15% from January 2007 to December 2009.  For larger systems, system costs declined by nearly 10% over the same period.
  • Backlog in Projects - Completed projects make up 20% of the goal while pending projects (i.e., projects for which a rebate has been reserved but the project is not yet complete) account for another 22%.
    • There are some concerns that this is not an accidental condition.  We will have more to say about this in a future post.
  • 2010 is the Strongest Year Yet - In just the first six months of this year, nearly 300 MW of project applications have been received by CSI and nearly 60 MW has already been installed.  April of this year saw the highest MW total for new applications of any month in the program - over 134 MW.
  • Solar Systems Work - for both the grid and their owners:
    • California has over 600 MW of solar power connected to the grid at nearly 65,000 customer sites.
      • But here is an eye opener - 598 MW of that is installed in IOU territory - only 11 MW is installed in publicly owned utility territory!  (I.e., the so-called “Muni’s” which include LADWP, PWP, BWP & GWP!)
    • In 2009, CSI projects generated more than 390,000 MWh of energy - three times the amount produced in 2008.
    • Based on a review of actual performance data, both large and small CSI-funded systems are performing above estimates and solar customers rank their systems at a ‘9′ on a scale from 1 to 10 for system performance satisfaction.

It would be nice to see similar analysis coming from the Muni’s - which up until now tend to keep their data to themselves.  That too is grist for another post.



It’s great to see solar doing so well in California. I can’t wait to see the same happen in other states in the U.S.!
07/13/10 @ 23:58
Comment from: Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO
Christof - You are right - California has come a long way in a short time and the growth continues. But a feed-in tariff is what will ultimately be needed to move us into the league with Germany. The City of Los Angeles is looking closely into a FIT (a topic for a future post) and hopefully that will become the norm, not just here, but throughout the country!
07/14/10 @ 00:17

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Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
Run on Sun also offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities, and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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