PG&E's 'Solar Choice' Program -- a CCA Perspective

posted Mar 1, 2016, 10:02 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Mar 1, 2016, 10:15 AM ]
Pacific Gas and Electric, Inc. (PG&E) established its Solar Choice program pursuant to Senate Bill 43 (Wolk, 2014) that created the Green Tariff Shared Renewables Program. This program enables the three large utilities in the state to offer programs to their customers that credit their accounts for payments to support solar facilities constructed in the utility’s service territories, and to offer other increased renewable energy options.

Photo: PG&E
PG&E’s Solar Choice Program was initiated for the stated purpose of expanding “access to renewable energy resources, and to create a mechanism by which institutional customers, commercial customers and individuals can meet their electrical needs with generation from renewable energy resources.” In creating Solar Choice, PG&E was likely intent on competing with and perhaps undermining Community Choice Energy programs given that it called the program “Community Solar Choice” until Marin Clean Energy filed a formal complaint.

Community Choice Energy proponents have consistently argued that choice and competition in the electricity market are fundamentally good. This argument extends as well to PG&E’s Solar Choice Program. PG&E’s step to compete in the market instead of opposing Community Choice through ballot initiatives and legislation is a positive sign.