Author Archives: energy

New Programs for 2014-2015 in California

The next couple of years are critical for new developments in the US and CA, especially because of the expiration of the 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC) that expires at the end of 2016.  Thus the new winning RPS RFOs in CA from this year that have COD dates in the 2018 range will have to be viable with a very different financial model from the past.

For the coming year in California there are expectations of new opportunities associated with the SB 43 shared renewables implementations of the three IOUs, the small project RFOs of SPVP for SCE and the IPP program of PG&E, and possible inclusion in some of the coming storage RFOs.

California Leads US Again in Solar Installations for 2013

The recent SEIA/GTM publication showed that once again California is the place where the largest residential, commercial, and utility scale projects were placed into operation in Q3 of 2013 and forecasted for the total year.

As we can see from this state map CA is projected to install over 2.13GW this year.

state installations 2013


Also from this SCE RAM bidders map for ~ 20MW projects you can see where these projects are concentrated in CA.  It is in the lower central valley toward the Mojave and South into the Imperial Valley.

Where 20MW Projects in CA Exist

In addition the states of Massachusetts and North Carolina(primarily Strata projects) are active and growing markets for utility solar in 2014.

Solar Investment Due Diligence | Solar Farm Technology California

California 2014 RFOs for <3MW Projects

As we enter 2014 the number of potential PPA programs that are available for <3MW size solar projects are somewhat limited.  Projects larger than this size are legislatively excluded from the RAM auctions and would not be practical for the much larger and further out annual RPS RFO solicitations.

The most viable programs for 2014 seem to be:

  1. The Re-MAT auctions every other month throughout the year, but limited to usually a capacity of 5MW total for SCE and PG&E
  2. The upcoming next LADWP FIT program offering
  3. The late in the year SCE SPVP annual offering
  4. The new possibility of projects for the new SB 43 programs.

Solar Farm Developer | Solar Farm Design California

California RAM 5 in June 2014

The final RAM RFO called RAM 5 will open in June of 2014.  This at present will be the last RAM RFO until the program is expanded by CPUC action.
Since many 20MW projects still have no PPA but are incurring large costs for the interconnection agreement postings it will be very important for those projects to win at that time.

 Solar Investment Due Diligence | Solar Farm Technology California


New California Governor Jerry Brown Calls for Feed-in Tariffs to Develop Distributed Generation

January 3, 2011 by Paul Gipe

In an undated posting on Governor Jerry Brown’s campaign web site, the then candidate called for building 12,000 MW of distributed generation out of 20,000 MW of new renewable generation.

Governor Brown specifically calls on the legislature to introduce feed-in tariffs to accomplish this task.
Brown’s position on distributed generation and feed-in tariffs is the most ambitious–and the most specific–of any sitting US Governor.

California has lagged far behind other US states since Brown’s previous tenure as Governor in the early 1980s. At best California produces two percent of its electricity with wind energy and less than one percent from solar energy. Several Midwestern states generate more than seven percent of their electricity with new renewables, mostly wind energy.

12,000 MW of new distributed renewables could produce 15-25 TWh of generation, or about 5%-8% of current consumption. Total new renewables proposed by Brown could generate 30-40 TWh per year for about 10%-13% of consumption.

Below is an excerpt from Brown’s campaign web site titled Jobs for California’s Future. In the campaign’s vernacular, distributed generation is called Localized Electricity Generation.

“My goal is that by 2020, California should produce 20,000 new megawatts (MW) of renewable electricity, and also accelerate the development of energy storage capacity. California can do this by aggressively developing renewables at all levels: small, onsite residential and business systems; intermediate-sized energy systems close to existing consumer loads and transmission lines; and large scale wind, solar and geothermal energy systems. At the same time, California should take bold steps to increase energy efficiency.

“Below is my plan to get us there. It will produce a half a million new jobs in research, development, manufacturing, construction, installation, and maintenance over the next decade.

“1. Build 12,000 MWs of Localized Electricity Generation
California should develop 12,000 megawatts of localized energy by 2020. Localized energy is onsite or small energy systems located close to where energy is consumed that can be constructed quickly (without new transmission lines) and typically without any environmental impact.

Solar systems of up to 2 megawatts should be installed on the roofs of warehouses, parking lot structures, schools, and other commercial buildings throughout the state.

Solar energy projects up to 20 megawatts in size should be built on public and private property throughout the state. For example, we should create the California Solar Highway by placing solar panels alongside our state highways.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) or Legislature should implement a system of carefully calibrated renewable power payments (commonly called feed in tariffs) for distributed generation projects up to 20 megawatts in size. Holding down overall rates must be part of the design.”

-Paul Gipe

Solar Investment Due Diligence | Solar Farm Business Plan