PG+E DG PV solar program approved

More wholesale distributed generation: on April 22, the California Public Utilities Commission finally approved PG+E’s 500 MW solar program application.

The ruling can be found here (pdf).

Briefly, the utility gets to own 250 MW of PV generation over the next 4 years (they may use a combination of solicitations for turnkey projects, or contract for materials and services), and has to buy the equivalent amount from independent solar developers.  This is very similar to the SCE program, except that this program targets systems 1-20 MW in size, and is expected to be mostly groundmount instead of rooftops.  Think solar farms sited near substations.

The IPP portion will  be competitively bid.

There’s a bit more regulatory work before this hits the street.  There will be some advice letters, draft resolutions, resolutions, and plenty of opportunity for parties to comment to guide the implementation details.

In any event, this program joins the 500 MW SCE DG PV program (the first RFO just closed, and by all accounts, there was *robust* activity, the SCE standard offer program (140 MW this year), the SMUD 100 MW FIT, the upcoming SB 32 FIT expansion,  increasing amounts of mid-sized PV projects coming in under the standard RPS solicitations, and, hopefully, the final resolution of the 1 GW market-based FIT that parties have been working on for about 2 years now.

We are seeing incredible activity in the wholesale distributed generation market segment in other states, as well.  Arizona utilities are going gangbusters.  And even in New York: the New York Power Authority was blown away by the response to their RFP for 100 MW of solar.  There’s a huge appetite to sell: all that’s needed is a market to sell into…