California Surpasses Customer-Installed Solar Goal

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By Carolyn Whetzel

July 6 — Customers of California's three investor-owned utilities installed a record 1,041 megawatts of solar capacity in 2015, beating by more than half the capacity installed in 2014, state utility regulators said.

Customer solar installations increased in 2015 even without rebate incentives, the California Public Utilities Commission said in its annual report for the portion of the California Solar Initiative that it oversees.

The new solar capacity means the California Solar Initiative's general market program has surpassed its goal of installing 1,750 megawatts by 2017, according to the CPUC. In fact, the general market program has installed 1,753.6 megawatts and another 139.7 megawatts is expected in pending projects, the report said.

In total, California Solar Initiative programs installed an estimated 3,570 megawatts of solar capacity at 451,597 customer sites in the territories of Pacific Gas & Electric Co., San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison. The increased capacity reflects the drop in the cost of residential solar systems, according to the commission.

Between 2008 and 2014, the average cost of installed residential systems dropped 53 percent, from $10.87 a watt to $5.14 a watt, the report said. The average cost of nonresidential systems decreased 62 percent, from $10.30 a watt to $3.93 a watt.

Launched in January 2007, the goal of the initiative is to install 3,000 megawatts of new energy systems during the next 10 years.

To contact the reporter on this story: Carolyn Whetzel in Los Angeles at cwhetzel@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

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