When San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) began exploring the possibility of developing new solar energy programs, it found that fewer than 30 percent of its customers were able to take advantage of rooftop solar energy systems because they did not own a home, could not afford a solar energy system, or simply did not have the ability to install photovoltaic (PV) panels on their roof because of structural or shading issues.
But SDG&E is determined not to let these factors prevent people from buying solar power in sunny San Diego, and is asking regulators to approve a plan that would enable its customers to buy all or some of their energy from solar projects in the utility’s service territory. The proposal, called “connected … to the sun” offers two pilot programs designed to gauge the level of interest among customers who are interested in solar power, but cannot install their own PV systems.
The first program is a community solar pilot program called “Share the Sun.” Under this program, SDG&E will partner with solar developers to offer 10 megawatts (MW) of solar power capacity for subscription. SDG&E customers who participate in the program will purchase a share of the facilities’ production capacity, and receive a bill credit for the value of the power produced.