Assisting Customers with Alternative Energy Solutions
PG&E plays an important role in assisting customers who choose to integrate alternative energy sources at their homes and businesses. In 2007, we interconnected more than 6,500 customer-owned solar power systems to the electric grid—an increase of over 50 percent from 2006. This brought our total to more than 20,000 interconnected customer solar systems, more than any other utility in the United States.
This increase is due, in part, to the implementation of the California Solar Initiative (CSI), a new $2.1 billion statewide, 10-year solar incentive program designed to increase the total amount of solar installed in California by 3,000 MW. PG&E customers accounted for 70 percent of the total applications submitted in California (see chart below). The amount of power from PG&E's approved applications totaled almost 84 MW.
2007 California Solar Initiative Applications by Program Administrator
PG&E also distributed approximately $21 million in rebates for completed residential and commercial solar installations. We expect rebate totals to increase significantly as the program matures and more installations are completed.
PG&E's Self-Generation Incentive Program complements CSI by providing distributed generation incentives for fuel cells, wind or other co-generation systems 30 kW or larger. Through this program, PG&E received applications for a number of new projects, including a dramatic increase in fuel cell projects powered with biogas (typically organic waste such as cow manure and vegetables).
In an effort to help raise awareness of the incentives and advantages associated with alternative energy options, PG&E offered a number of classes last year. In 2007, we held 29 classes to educate installers and interested residential customers on solar power and the CSI program. More than 1,800 people attended these classes, primarily held in the Bay Area. In 2008, we plan to increase the number and availability of classes, including reaching out beyond the Bay Area to our customers in northern and central California.