PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2018

Northern California Wildfires

Solar and Distributed Generation

With more than 370,000 solar customers now connected to the energy grid, we are proud to partner with businesses and households who want to use solar energy. In fact, PG&E connects nearly 5,000 private rooftop solar systems to the electric grid each month.

Private rooftop solar will play a key role in our state’s clean energy future, one in which innovative energy technologies and distributed energy resources like solar power, battery storage and electric vehicles allow customers to have more choice and control over what type of energy they use and their overall energy usage.

Our Approach

PG&E is committed to expanding the use of clean energy options that meet customer energy needs and California’s environmental goals in a smart and meaningful way. We are working to promote a shared understanding of the value provided by a connected grid while supporting new energy policies that allow for the continued growth of clean and affordable energy for all of our customers.

PG&E supports a variety of tools and resources for customers who want to use solar energy and other distributed energy resources. Our website provides information regarding the process of adopting solar and helps customers determine if solar is right for them. PG&E also offers incentive programs for low-income solar, solar thermal water heating, fuel cells, wind, battery storage and other advanced technologies.

If installing private solar isn’t an option, customers can also enroll in PG&E’s Solar Choice program, which gives customers the option to purchase up to 100 percent of their electricity from a universal solar program generated within California.

To help customers go solar, PG&E offers online tools and tips for customers to use as they consider solar for their home at, including:

PG&E sends an interactive welcome kit to guide customers on how solar billing works, how to read solar bills and how to understand the true-up process at the end of the billing cycle. PG&E follows up with customers through targeted communications at key times throughout their first year as solar customers. A dedicated solar call center offers specialized customer service representatives to answer questions at any point in the solar adoption process. Additionally, an easy-to-use online portal allows solar customers to log in to their PG&E account and track their charges and credits throughout the year and compare their usage month-over-month and year-over-year.

2017 Milestones

In 2017, PG&E reached a milestone of 3,200 megawatts of installed private rooftop solar capacity on the energy grid.

Beyond this milestone, PG&E continued to support solar and other clean energy technologies:

  • Continued to offer Solar Choice. The Solar Choice and Regional Renewable Choice programs give customers the option to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from a universal solar program generated within California, without the need to install private rooftop solar panels.
  • Continued to improve the customer experience. On average, PG&E connects a new private solar system to the energy grid in fewer than four days. We’ve also enhanced the experience for new solar customers with a welcome kit, updated solar calculator and other online resources.
  • Supported other customer self-generation. As of early 2018, PG&E had paid for over 730 projects since 2001, representing $370 million in incentives and over 234 MW capacity for energy storage, fuel cells, wind turbines, internal combustion engines and other distributed generation through the Self-Generation Incentive Program. There are currently over 1,600 projects in the queue, representing over 100 MW of capacity and $67 million in incentives.
  • Supported customer solar water heating. We provided average incentives of about $2,850 each to single-family residential solar water heating projects, and more than an average of $36,000 for multi-family residential and commercial solar water heating installations. These incentives have helped support 1,426 gas-offsetting projects of all types since the program’s inception, which, in total, are expected to avoid almost 1.5 million therms annually. The solar water heating program is scheduled to run through December 31, 2019 or until the budget of $250 million is exhausted, whichever occurs first, though state legislation may further extend the program.
  • Raised customer awareness of solar power and other generation technology options. We offered a wide range of training opportunities on solar and other technologies for different audiences and education levels, both live and simulcast. We held 24 solar classes in 2017 with nearly 623 attendees in total.

Measuring Progress

In 2018, we surpassed 370,000 interconnected solar systems, representing about 20 percent of all private rooftop solar in America—a significant milestone for PG&E, the solar industry and our customers. Additionally, as of January 2018, there were nearly 6,500 Solar Choice accounts.

PG&E Interconnected Customer Solar Systems
Total Solar Interconnections = 370,000+
1993 – 2000 156
2001 560
2002 1,222
2003 1,844
2004 3,071
2005 2,776
2006 4,310
2007 6,517
2008 6,488
2009 9,236
2010 10,340
2011 13,583
2012 17,416
2013 28,657
2014 44,988
2015 65,616
2016 67,951
2017 56,338
2018 34,114 Footnote 1
  • 1. Total through July 31, 2018.1

Looking Ahead

PG&E is committed to supporting customers who are interested in going solar. We look forward to working with our stakeholders to make it easier to adopt solar and other distributed technologies in a sustainable way as well as to improve customers’ satisfaction with these programs.

PG&E is focused on building a flexible energy grid capable of seamlessly integrating all forms of clean technology needed to reduce our carbon footprint. Clean energy sources become more valuable by connecting to the grid, much like how a smartphone is more valuable when it’s connected to a data network or the internet. With a modern, resilient, dynamic energy grid, we can bring clean, carbon-free energy to everyone, offering our customers more choices, more control and more convenience when it comes to their energy.

To realize this potential, PG&E advocates a forward-looking energy policy that supports evolving rate structures to compensate both energy companies for the grid services we provide to customers and customers for the value they bring to the grid. We look forward to working with regulators, customers and other stakeholders to develop new models that support a future when customers will use the energy grid as a system to complement the new energy technologies they have in their home.