California: CPUC proposes next-generation solar FIT

Advocates at the Vote Solar Initiative and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) have applauded the CPUC for its “innovative approach” in helping California to meet its renewable goals and build a “strong new energy economy”.

According to Vote Solar, the CPUC proposal establishes a one-gigawatt (GW) pilot program for power from eligible mid-sized renewable energy systems. In a statement, it said: “The program requires California’s three largest investor owned utilities to hold biannual competitive auctions into which renewable developers can bid. Utilities must award contracts starting with the lowest cost viable project and moving up in price until the MW requirement is reached for that round.

"The program will use standard terms and conditions to lower transactional costs and provide the contractual transparency needed for effective financing. Development security and relatively short project development timelines ensure project viability. The Commission can act to finalize and adopt the program in as soon as thirty days.”

Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar commented: “California has robust policies for developing large, utility-scale solar power plants and for putting smaller systems on homes and businesses, but there is a clear gap in the middle. Yesterday’s CPUC proposal is designed to unlock that missing piece, providing an additional opportunity for solar market and job growth and for quickly bringing massive new amounts of clean energy to the state.

"Although there are a few mechanics of the program still in need of clarification, this proposal largely draws on proven best practices for mid-sized renewable procurement. We look forward to working with the CPUC to finalize those details and get the program up and running.”

Click here to read more on the proposed FIT.