Smart energy reform proposed by PG&E


For the first time since 1996, the CPUC decided to update its standards. The commission requested that the solar industry, utilities and others draw up proposals on how rooftop PV can be further supported over the long-term. PG&E submitted their proposal advocating that the state count rooftop solar towards the ambitious renewable energy goals as another way to help ensure the continued growth of rooftop solar.

PG&E include in their proposal a small usage-based demand charge and new compensation for the amount solar customers are credited when they feed power back into the grid. Via this plan, solar customers can potentially get savings of more than 50% on their monthly bill and the net impact of the changes proposed would only be about $20 per month for a typical prospective solar customer planning to install a 3.7 kilowatt solar system.

Existing solar customers will retain their normal bills as will customers who do not generate solar power. To boost control over ongoing energy costs, solar customers will have their bills reconciled monthly, replacing annual true-ups, suggests the proposal. Changes are happening in the solar market, and PG&G suggests in the proposal that CPUC retain "very significant incentives" for solar and thereafter assess rates again in three years or less.

For customers under the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program in disadvantaged communities, PG&E is suggesting its SolarCARE pilot program where 100% renewable energy sourced from local solar projects is given as an option. This switch would not affect the existing regular discounted energy rate for the customers nor will there be any extra charges.