CPUC Approves Performance Standards for Solar Subsidies

By Published On: August 25, 2006

The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a performance-based subsidy system for large solar projects and a schedule for declining rebates for photovoltaic installations under its regulatory Million Solar Roofs program August 24. “I am disturbed we have yet to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of non-PV systems” nor required subsidized solar systems to be tied to energy-efficiency measures, said commissioner Geoffrey Brown. However, he called the vote on the phased implementation of the California Solar Initiative’s $3 billion program a “step in the right direction.” Commissioner Rachelle Chong applauded the decision for being consumer friendly and paying owners of small systems their rebates up front. Next, the commission is set to tackle integrating efficiency into the rebate program, designing the program’s administration, and setting appropriate rebate incentive levels for non-PV systems – such as sun-powered hot water systems. In addition, it plans to develop an on-line rebate application. Chong urged her fellow regulators to have a nonprofit third party administer the program.

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