California serves up solar incentives
The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved funding in January to spur the development of a projected 3,000 megawatts (MW) of solar energy during the next decade.
The five-member commission, approved $2.8 billion in customer incentives for solar energy projects on public and private residential, industrial and agricultural buildings. The California Energy Commission, the state’s primary energy policy and power plant licensing agency, will provide an additional $400 million in incentives for new homes. The incentives, which are funded through surcharges on customers’ electric utility bills, will be phased out by 2016.
Technologies eligible for the state funding include photovoltaics, concentrating solar power and solar water heating. Projects must be between 1 kilowatt and 1 MW. The total $3.2 billion investment by the state could ultimately save ratepayers an estimated $9 billion, according to a PUC estimate.
Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Los Gatos, Calif.-based Akeena Solar, said the long-term incentives will help make the price of solar competitive with other forms of energy.
“From an industry standpoint, this program will eliminate the stopstart incentive cycle and create market conditions that allow solar companies to make new long-term investments that will bring solar to the public.”