SAN FRANCISCO–The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Thursday approved a five-year solar photovoltaic (PV) program to develop up to 100 megawatts (MW) of solar PV facilities in the range of 1 to 5 MW in San Diego Gas and Electric Company’s (SDG&E) service area.
The approved Solar Energy Program for SDG&E authorizes 26 MW of utility-owned generation and 74 MW of power purchase agreements with independent power producers. Both the utility and independent power producers can develop PV facilities from 1 to 5 MW in size as long as no major distribution upgrade is required.
“The Solar Energy Program approved today will help facilitate expeditious achievement of SDG&E’s renewable energy goals pursuant to their mandate under the Renewables Portfolio Standard,” said CPUC President Michael R. Peevey. “Because the facilities targeted by this program interconnect at the distribution level and rely on a proven and modular technology, they can come online quickly and avoid the need for the large scale transmission upgrades that have proven so confounding to many larger scale projects.”
SDG&E is authorized to spend up to $100.1 million for capital costs associated with the turn-key utility owned projects. Pricing for generation from the independent producer-owned PV will be based on competitive solicitations, not to exceed $235/MWh, with the successful bidders entering into a 20-year power purchase agreement with SDG&E.
With today’s approval, all three major investor-owned utilities in California, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison, and SDG&E have programs in place to develop small-scale PV generation facilities as part of their overall efforts to meet California’s renewable energy targets.