Lobbyists call for more front-of-meter solar in California


From pv magazine USA

Six advocacy groups have challenged California's process to evaluate pathways to 100% clean electricity by 2045 for failing to maximize cost-effective front-of-the-meter distributed generation.

The groups propose an approach they call the “Max DG Pathway,” which would maximize cost-effective solar on the built environment, including warehouses, shopping malls, schools, parking lots, irrigation canals and highway rights-of-way. They have said that several studies have evaluated the technical potential to deploy solar on such sites.

The groups backing the proposal include The Climate Center, Center for Biological Diversity, Local Government Sustainable Energy Coalition, and Vote Solar. They submitted comments to three state agencies that are evaluating pathways to achieve the state’s clean electricity goal.

On sites in the built environment with suitable solar exposure, a “small-to-medium-size” utility-scale solar array could be deployed, probably with co-located storage, the groups say. Each solar array on the built environment would have its own front-of-the-meter (FTM) utility interconnection, even if it is physically located on the premises of an end-use customer.

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The sizes of these arrays “would generally be appropriate for distribution-system interconnections,” the groups said. The solar developer could earn revenues through a power-purchase agreement with a load-serving entity, or through some other business model.

Maximizing cost-effective FTM solar and storage, the groups said, could supply a substantial amount of renewable electricity without triggering land-use concerns or other sources of public opposition, while reducing the costs of transmission upgrades and providing valuable local benefits.

Those local benefits include resilience benefits from incorporating FTM solar plus storage as grid-forming resources in community microgrids, the groups said. The resources could be developed under local, municipal or tribal ownership models “that help build community wealth and advance energy justice.”

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