California Solar Moves Closer To “Grid Parity”

Sunshine state regulators have reported that more than 1 gigawatt — or 1,000 megawatts — of solar power has been installed through the California Solar Initiative, says the Mercury News. The program, launched in 2007, calls for 1,940 new megawatts of solar power to be installed on private homes, businesses, government buildings, and nonprofit organizations by 2016.  The recent milestone represents the halfway mark of the effort.

The goal of the state’s program is to help solar achieve “grid parity” or the point where solar matches the price of and can compete with less costly energy like natural gas.  Financial incentives designed to decline as solar adoption becomes more widespread have helped solar power get closer to that goal.

When the program debuted, many consumers received rebates as high as $2.50 per watt generated.  Demand has grown so strong, incentive has fallen to just 20 cents a watt in PG&E territory.  The San Francisco utility noted that solar energy has been growing in popularity despite shrinking rebates.  It is adding about 1,000 new net meter customers each month and would like to see current net metering policies revised.

PG&E joins other utilities in arguing that net metering subsidizes solar customers at the expense of other ratepayers and does not truly reflect the cost of connecting solar customers to the grid.

To read the Mercury News story mentioned in this article, click here

Tags: Policy , Solar

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