In its 2012 California Solar Initiative (CSI) Annual Program Assessment, the CPUC found that 1.25 GW of solar has been installed across 122,516 sites* in publicly-owned utility (POU) areas. Under the CSI program specifically, 97 MW are said to have been added in the first quarter of 2012, out of a total of 148.4 MW of newly-installed solar capacity in California.
In comparison, in 2011, 311 MW were installed in POU areas, thus representing a growth of 60 percent from 2010. Of this, a "record" 261 MW were installed through the CSI. In the recently released assessment, the authors wrote, "In 2012, the CSI Program has seen an increase in applications compared with the corresponding period of 2011 There have been over 8,000 applications for new solar projects, with a total capacity of 94 MW received between January and April, 2012."
The CSI is a solar rebate program for Californias investor-owned utilities, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). With a budget of $2.4 billion, its goal is to install 1.94 GW of solar (systems up to one MW in size) by the end of 2016. Based on the current rate of activity, predictions are that it will reach its own one GW milestone by the end of the year.
Leading the programs way is utility PG&E, which has installed a total of 479 MW of solar. The table below shows the three utilities solar progress.
CSI Progress Towards Program Goal of 1,750 MW. Source: CPUC
In terms of average installed costs per Watt, costs for systems under 10 kW are said to have fallen 28 percent since 2007, from $10.69 to US$7.75. Meanwhile, for systems over 10 kW, costs have dropped to $6.83, from $9.36.
Furthermore, CPUC says that CSI projects in low income markets, where median incomes are $50,000, have increased by 364 percent since 2007, and projects in middle income markets, where incomes are between $50,000 and $100,000, have increased by 445 percent since 2007. The latter group was said to comprise the majority of applications received in 2011.
The CSI program is composed of different elements. Below is an overview:
Budget (US$ millions)
General Market Solar Program (includes PV and electric displacing solar thermal technologies)
Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH)
95 MW *
Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH)
95 MW *
Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment (RD&D)