Solar & Distributed
Generation

100,000+ Number of customer-owned solar rooftop systems installed in our service area, more than any other utility in the U.S.

With abundant sunshine and strong support from PG&E and our customers, PG&E now hosts about one quarter of all rooftop solar systems in the United States. In fact, PG&E has connected more than 100,000 solar rooftop systems to the grid—more than any other utility in the country. Building on this success, we are developing a modernized grid that can integrate even more solar and renewable energy, electric vehicles, and batteries distributed across the system.

Our Approach

By providing incentives for rooftop solar, solar water heating, fuel cells, wind, battery storage and other advanced technologies, PG&E has helped customers reduce their energy bills and their carbon footprint. PG&E also continues to encourage customers to invest in cost-effective energy efficiency measures to complement distributed generation.

California Solar Initiative

The California Solar Initiative (CSI) has been instrumental in helping to grow the state’s customer-installed solar capacity. As one of the program administrators, PG&E provided significant incentives to help make solar more affordable to customers and spur a thriving solar market. Due to unparalleled demand, PG&E’s available incentives for residential and commercial customers—totaling $887.7 million—were exhausted in 2013, four years ahead of schedule. At the same time, the rooftop solar market has matured rapidly, with significant reductions in system costs.

The success of the program is a testament to the partnership between the state, investor-owned utilities, solar companies and customers to help grow a self-sustaining solar industry.

Available Solar Incentives

PG&E’s CSI-Thermal program continues to provide rebates to residential, multifamily and commercial customers who install eligible solar water heating systems for their home or business. The CSI-Thermal program will run through December 2017 or until the budget of $280 million is exhausted, whichever occurs first. In 2013, eligible single family residential projects earned average incentives of more than $2,200 from PG&E, while incentives for multi-family residential and commercial installations averaged about $70,000. PG&E incentives have also helped support over 500 gas-offsetting projects, and displaced over 630,000 therms since the program’s inception.

PG&E also continues to offer solar incentives for single- and multi-family affordable housing and incentives for new energy-efficient homes that install solar. These programs help broaden the solar market by making solar energy cost-effective for more customers.

Self-Generation Incentive Program

Through the Self-Generation Incentive Program, PG&E provides incentives for customers to implement other advanced on-site generation and/or storage technologies, such as fuel cells, wind turbines, internal combustion engines and advanced energy storage systems. The goal of the program is to reduce peak load and greenhouse gas emissions for participating customers.

For the sixth straight year, the Solar Electric Power Association named Pacific Gas and Electric Company first in the nation in its ranking of utilities with the most solar MW added to the grid in 2013.

2013 Milestones

In 2013, PG&E continued its strong support for solar and other clean energy technologies. Examples of our efforts include the following:

(Currents Archive Photo)

The Cheesecake Factory restaurant in Pleasanton received a $47,485 incentive from PG&E to install solar collectors on its roof and an 800-gallon water tank as part of a broader energy efficiency retrofit that included low-wattage lighting, more efficient patio heating and a variable-speed exhaust system. The restaurant saves an estimated 3,700 therms of natural gas annually, which prevents more than 43,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.

  • Interconnected 100,000th solar rooftop system to the grid. We interconnected more than 28,000 customer-owned solar PV systems to the grid in 2013. This brought the overall total to over 100,000 systems, enabling more than 1,000 MW of rooftop solar power in our service area.
  • Supported solar energy jobs. PG&E’s Pacific Energy Center hosted an event for people seeking solar jobs. The job fair was part of a weeklong conference and industry exhibition in San Francisco that attracted nearly 30,000 people.
  • Supported other customer self-generation. We allocated more than $45 million to customer projects that will install nearly 22 MW of distributed generation such as fuel cells, wind turbines, internal combustion engines and advanced energy storage systems.
  • Continued to improve the customer experience. On average, a new solar rooftop system can be interconnected by PG&E in less than five days.

Measuring Progress

In 2013, we surpassed 100,000 interconnected solar systems, a significant milestone for PG&E, the solar industry and our customers.

Annual PG&E Interconnected Customer Solar Systems
TIP: Click on the items in the chart legend to selectively remove or restore chart data.

PG&E also remains focused on raising customer awareness of solar power and other generation technology options. Activities last year included:

  • Offering a wide range of training opportunities on solar and other technologies for different audiences and education levels, both online and in the classroom. We held more than 70 solar classes in 2013 with more than 1,500 attendees.
  • Providing customers with a Solar Analysis tool to estimate the benefits of installing solar.
  • Conducting workshops to educate solar water heating contractors about the CSI-Thermal program.

Looking Ahead

Rooftop solar is undeniably an important and growing source of energy, which PG&E has long supported and we encourage customers to explore it as an option. In fact, over the next year, we expect about 4,000 new installations each month, and we are actively preparing to meet this demand by improving the customer experience through steps such as automating the application process.

PG&E will also continue to research and deploy smart grid technologies that will help support the continued growth of solar and other forms of customer-generated energy. This work to modernize our infrastructure is core to our commitment to providing customers with safe, reliable and affordable energy.

We appreciate the commitment to renewable energy demonstrated by customers who choose to ‘go solar.’ Californians have a long history of leading the way toward a clean energy future. We are proud of our customers and our record of being the leading utility in America when it comes to rooftop solar installations.

Current programs have been instrumental in promoting the growth of solar. We will continue evaluating these and other programs to ensure that California has the modern infrastructure it needs to drive further solar adoption. We will also continue to engage in reform efforts that are currently underway and are committed to working together with customers, businesses and utilities to keep solar growing in California.

Fourth-graders in San Jose learned about alternative energy—and built model solar homes—thanks to a PG&E Bright Ideas grant.

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