Million Solar Roof Subsidies Plod

By Published On: May 1, 2009

Two years after the launch of the California Solar Initiative program 211 MW of photovoltaic panels have been installed statewide. The initiative offers incentives to create nearly 2,000 MW of new solar power. Those installations include 78 MW installed in the first quarter of this year, according to the newly issued California Public Utilities Commission quarterly report on its 10-year program. The nearly 80 MW of new solar power units represent installations at 15,000 homes and businesses. The program aims to install 1,940 MW, with 190 MW placed on low-income residences, by 2017. CPUC program director Molly Sterkel said regulators have either allocated or committed a total $835 million of the program’s $2 billion funding pot so far to financially support solar panels, which essentially are peaking power units. The solar units are expected to pump out the largest amount of power on sunny hot days, when energy use soars across the state. Applications for subsidies were submitted soon after the CPUC launched its version of the Million Solar Roofs program in early 2007. How long it is taking utilities to approve applications, however, remains unclear. Of the 211 MW of solar systems added under the program to date, Pacific Gas & Electric’s non-residential sector accounts for 73 MW of the total. The next largest chunk of new projects has occurred in Southern California Edison’s business and commercial sector--at 62 MW. PG&E’s residential sector has gained 43 MW of solar rooftops while homes in Edison’s territory have installed 17 MW.

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