The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has released two proposals relating to incentives for distributed solar installations in California. The first, a Proposed Decision by CPUC President Michael R. Peevey, would change the method for calculating the statewide capacity cap for the net metering program. This proposal could increase the total capacity of distributed renewable energy generation eligible for this program by over 2 gigawatts. The second, a Draft Resolution proposed by the CPUC Energy Division, would change the methodology for calculating the cap on the cost of individual projects eligible for California Solar Initiative (CSI) incentives. A summary of these proposals and information on opportunities for interested parties to comment are provided below.
Proposed Decision on Net Metering Statewide Capacity Cap
Net energy metering is an important incentive program that enables utility customers producing electricity on their side of the meter to receive a credit for generation in excess of electricity consumed from the grid. The California Public Utilities Code limits the availability of the net metering tariff to eligible generating capacity of no more than 5 percent of each of the state's three investor-owned utilities' (IOUs') "aggregate customer peak demand." Currently, the IOUs calculate "aggregate customer peak demand" based on the highest recorded peak demand in their service territories (i.e., a "coincident peak") using different demand intervals.
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