First Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison had it, now–thanks to a recent approval from the California Public Utility Commission–San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) will have it, too. What is “it,” exactly? Solar energy on the grid, via utility-owned solar farms and independent purchase agreements. With this approval, all three of California’s major investor-owned utility companies will have distributed solar energy programs in place.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) gave the green light to a five-year solar photovoltaic (PV) program aimed at developing up to 100 megawatts (MW) of solar PV facilities in the range of 1 to 5 MW within SDG&E’s service area. This includes an authorized 26 MW of utility-owned generation–with up to $100.1 for capital costs–and 74 MW in power purchase agreements from independent power producers. Pricing for generation from the independent producers will be based on competitive solicitations, not to exceed $235/MWh. Successful bidders will enter into a 20-year power purchase agreement with SDG&E
“The Solar Energy Program approved today will help facilitate expeditious achievement of SDG&E’s renewable energy goals pursuant to their mandate under the Renewables Portfolio Standard,” said CPUC President Michael R. Peevey, in a statement. “Because the facilities targeted by this program interconnect at the distribution level and rely on a proven and modular technology, they can come online quickly and avoid the need for the large scale transmission upgrades that have proven so confounding to many larger scale projects.”