New Green Option (Community Solar) FAQ
All responses provided reflect the proposal as filed, which is subject to change and subject to approval by the CPUC.
In response to customer enrollment under the program, PG&E will contract for energy from new small and mid-sized solar projects located within its service area. Participants will pay the full cost of the new solar energy supplies they support. Those additional supplies—provided by third-party developers—will be incremental to the clean energy that PG&E purchases for all customers to meet the state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard. Participating customers will receive credits for avoided PG&E generation costs. The net cost will likely diminish over time, as the solar price will remain stable while the PG&E avoided generation cost is expected to increase.
At the outset, PG&E will provide clean energy procured from recently developed and operating small and mid-sized solar energy projects located within its service territory. However, as customers enroll, PG&E will execute long term contracts for new solar facilities with the same characteristics – small and mid-sized projects located within PG&E’s service territory. Once these projects develop, the energy they produce will then be the source energy for the program participants. Furthermore, PG&E will sign contracts for projects located close to where customers are enrolling, as long as the overall price can be maintained.
The energy for this program will be generated inside California, and specifically within PG&E’s service territory.
First, many customers can’t or don’t wish to have a solar system installed on their roofs. For example, customers may not own their home, or the roof configuration may not be suited to solar, or the customer may want the flexibility that a significant capital investment on their home or building doesn’t provide. Additionally, rate-embedded incentives for solar systems on customer roofs may change over time as the legislature and Commission evaluate these incentives.
Cost and Availability
Customers will pay a fixed price per kwh for the solar energy (initially set at $0.107/kwh), plus additional charges for program administration and other costs related to solar energy. However, customers will also receive a bill credit for generation costs that PG&E is able to avoid, adjusted to reflect any additional value that the solar energy is able to provide. The difference (net cost) is likely to start at about $0.035/kwh for residential customers, but diminish over time if PG&E’s generation costs increase. For a residential customer with monthly usage of 500 kwhs, this will amount to $17.50/month.
Nothing. All costs will be borne only by customers who volunteer to enroll in the program.
Yes. This program will be authorized to serve up to 250MW of subscriber load, with 125 MW being reserved for residential customers. Furthermore, the program will be open to new enrollees for no more than 5 years. PG&E may seek an expansion and/or extension of this program through a filing with the CPUC.
PG&E is asking the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to approve the program by the end of 2013. We anticipate the program will launch within a few months after CPUC approval.
PG&E and the Green Option
In discussions with other stakeholders, PG&E decided that the best way to ensure that incremental renewable projects are created is to invest in new long-term contracts for clean energy. Of late, there has also been a significant reduction in the market cost of solar. This proposal also offers customers some additional features, such as protection against rising conventional energy costs, and the benefit of having projects located closer to where our customers live, which is important to some customers.
This program is separate from and incremental to PG&E’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirements. However, if customers drop off the program after PG&E has procured new supplies on their behalf, and new customers don’t “step in” to take their place, the additional resources will be provided to PG&E’s bundled customers.
PG&E customers have been asking for a renewable energy option for some time. Now that PG&E’s other voluntary “green” program, the ClimateSmart program, has ended and a comprehensive evaluation has been completed, we believe that it is time to incorporate the lessons learned and provide a new choice for our customers who want to go green.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regulates investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities operating in California, including PG&E. PG&E must receive approval from the CPUC in order to offer new tariffs and services, such as the proposed Green Option. There is a regulatory process that allows for stakeholder and public input. Therefore, PG&E’s proposed program design for the Green Option is subject to change and approval by the Commission.
• April 24, 2012: PG&E files Green Option Application
• Aug 2, 2012: ½ Day Workshop
• Aug 24, 2012: Common Outline of Issues Sent to CPUC
• Sept 26, 2012: Scoping Memo Issued
• Oct 19, 2012: Intervenor Testimony Served
• Nov 9, 2012: PG&E’s Rebuttal Testimony Served
• Mar 26, 2013: Settlement Conference
• April 11, 2013: Motion to Adopt Settlement Filed
For Suppliers: PG&E will post information for potential renewable energy suppliers here when available.