|California Solar Initiative (CSI) Newsletter - August 2008|
In This Issue
SCE Expands CSI Training
August is Solar Energy Month in California, and you’re likely to see solar promotions everywhere from the State Fair to the shopping mall. This month’s feature photo comes from Scott Gordon in Laguna Niguel, CA, who just received his first electric bill since installing a 3.8-kW system in June 2007—$90 was all he paid for the entire year. Read on for important CSI Program updates and to find out how to submit photos of your solar installation.
On Friday, Aug. 8, 2008, PG&E filed Advice 3315-E proposing a host of revisions to the CSI Program Handbook. Designed to simplify the program, the proposed revisions include standardized application fees, new notification formats, amendments to inspection requirements, changes in “strike” policy, removal of the “CEC Eligible Installer” listing requirement and modifications to warranty requirements. Comments are due Aug. 28, 2008.
The Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which provided tax credits for residents and businesses that installed solar energy systems, has not yet been renewed by Congress and is due to expire at the end of 2008. Much like CSI rebates, ITCs are a key factor in solar financing, and many customers and installers are pushing to get all viable projects fully installed by Dec. 31, 2008, in order to claim the federal tax credits. As such, the utilities expect a rush of interconnection applications between now and the end of the year. Since projects—especially those greater than 10kW—need to be reviewed against the existing utility service to the site and in some cases may require utility upgrades, CSI Program Administrators recommend submitting interconnection applications as soon as possible for any project expected to be complete by year's end.
SCE and PG&E are two of the top utilities in the nation with the most solar electricity integrated into their energy mix as of the end of 2007, according to a survey by the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA).
In response to growing waiting lists for its monthly installer workshop, SCE recently added a second class each month and has begun a pilot program to offer the workshop via the Web.
August is “Solar Energy Awareness Month,” and to celebrate the California Energy Commission’s New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) has launched the ”Go Solar California Sweepstakes.” From Aug. 15 through Oct. 31, 2008, Californians can visit the Go Solar California website at www.gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov to take a solar quiz and register to win the grand prize 2009 hybrid vehicle. The winner will be announced in November 2008. Visitors to the California State Fair can also enter the sweepstakes at kiosks located in the fair’s California Green Dream Expo.
The California Solar Initiative Trigger Tracker provides an indicator of when the CSI incentive levels are expected to drop by showing the reservation and review status of all incentive classes. This snapshot compares the megawatts remaining in each step with the megawatts under review, so that users can estimate how close the incentives are to declining. When there are more megawatts under review than remaining in the step, then it may be probable that any new applications will be at the next (i.e. LOWER) incentive step level.
PG&E's customers are rapidly increasing their adoption of solar. Since the CSI program's inception, 5,000 PG&E customers have received their solar incentive. This milestone, which underscores the widespread interest in solar, proactive PG&E customer base, and utility leadership, will be celebrated at PG&E’s 5,000th CSI customer's home, with local community and elected leadership involvement.
The 2nd Annual Metering and Performance Monitoring Expo, held Aug. 5-6 and hosted by SEPA and PG&E, drew nearly 500 PMRS installers, vendors, manufacturers, utility and non-profit industry representatives from across the country. Unexpectedly high attendance at the two-day series of presentations, conversations and workshops—including a session on PV integration with Smart Meters—underscored the demand for continued metering and service monitoring expositions as the industry evolves. The Expo will be offered again next year, folded into DistribuTECH 2009, taking place from Feb. 3-5 at the San Diego Convention Center.
The total number of new homes for which builders have submitted New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) applications has more than tripled since SCE assumed the role of Program Administrator in mid-April.
Call for Photos of CSI-Funded Solar Systems
This month’s feature photo comes from Scott Gordon in Laguna Niguel, CA. His-3.8 kW AC system was installed by Helio Power, and consists of 27 Sharp 170 panels. Scott initially had a household load of 6 kW, but after spending $200 on CFL light bulbs and other simple energy efficiency measures, he reduced the size of the system he needed, saving thousands on solar panels. His first electric bill since installing his system dropped from an annual average of $1,800 (roughly $150 per month) to $90. Way to go solar!
The California Solar Initiative is seeking photos of solar systems installed under the CSI program for use in future newsletters or other CSI-related publicity. When submitting your solar PV system photos, please provide the following: name of photographer; name of installer, seller or system owner; system size and location; and full permission to use photo in CSI-related publicity.
>> click here to submit your CSI-funded solar system photos.
Workshops and Trainings
PG&E Solar Power Basics for Residential Customers
California Public Utilities Commission
Public Workshop Notice – Solar Water Heating Pilot Program:
Aug. 26, 2008
1 p.m.–5 p.m.
505 Van Ness Ave. Courtyard Room (Corner of Van Ness Ave. and McAllister St.)
As per Commission Decision 08-06-029, the purpose of this workshop is to discuss issues related to the evaluation of the Solar Water Heating Pilot Program. Commission staff will lead a discussion of these issues.
>> click here for workshop agenda and teleconference information.
CCSE Family Solar Day
Oct. 12, 2008
Spanish Landing Park
San Diego, CA 92101
>> click here to register.
|The CSI program is funded by California investor-owned utility customers and administered by Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric, and the California Center for Sustainable Energy under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.|
|California Public Utilities Commission|
505 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, California 94102