Environmental & Cleantech
What is GoSolar California?
Go Solar California is a joint effort of the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission. The goal of this program is to encourage California residents to install 3,000 megawatts of solar energy systems on businesses and homes by the end of 2016. Additionally, the program has set the goal of installing 585 million therms of gas-displacing solar hot water systems by the end of 2017. The Go Solar webpage contains information on installing and interconnecting electric and thermal solar systems. There are program rules, including established standards and eligible equipment as well as resources for finding licensed solar contractors that are eligible within the program.
How does it work?
The Go Solar California program has two main components: the first is the California Solar Initiative (CSI) directed at existing homes and businesses and the second is the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) which pertains to new homes build state-wide. The California Solar Initiative program is funded by both electric and gas ratepayers with oversight coming from the California Public Utilities Commission.
The California Solar Initiative is the solar rebate program for Northern California residents that are Pacific Gas & Electric customers. The program referred to as the CSI general market program funds solar systems on existing or new businesses, agricultural, government, and non-profit buildings as well as existing homes. The CSI thermal rebate program funds solar thermal systems for hot water on all homes and businesses. The California Solar Initiative also has a rebate program (referred to as the SASH program) for low-income residents that own their own single-family home and meet specified income and housing criteria. Additionally there is a multifamily affordable housing rebate program known as the MASH program.
The California Solar Initiative offers customers different incentive levels based on the performance of their solar systems, evaluation is based on factors such as installation angle, tilt, and location rather than just the systems capacity alone. This incentive plan was created to reward systems that can provide maximum solar generation, therefore creating a greater impact on renewable energy production. The CSI program is funded by electric ratepayers and the CSI-Thermal portion of the program is funded by gas ratepayers. The CSI program is overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission and rebates are offered through the Program Administrators.
The New Solar Homes Partnership provides financial incentives and other forms of support to home builders as a means of encouraging the construction of new, energy efficient solar homes that over the long run will save homeowners money on their electric bills while protecting the environment and conserving scarce resources.
The New Solar Homes Partnership outlines a solar home as a highly efficient home that uses photovoltaic modules to generate electricity from the sun. These solar homes will create and utilize clean, renewable energy, while cutting and creating predictable utility bill costs. These new homes are at least 15 percent more efficient than current building standards with the encouraged goal of 30 percent greater efficiency. The end goal of this program is to accent the positive aspects of energy independence and creation of solar power when electricity is the most expensive during peak hours. Solar homes will also qualify for a federal tax credit worth up to an additional $2,000. Solar homes are backed with a 10-year system warranty and most PV modules are warranted to last 20 years or more.
Most important the purchase of a ‘solar home’ is a significant personal action in the effort to cut air pollution and green house gas emission, while conserving precious energy resources and reducing the need for costly new power plants.
Other Features: The California Solar Initiative has a research, development, demonstration and deployment program that provides funding in the form of grants for innovative solar technologies that will aide in keeping California on the cutting edge of the renewable energy sector.
Go Solar California Program Components
|Program Authority||California Public Utilities Commission||California Energy Commission||Publicly Owned Utilities (POUs)||Total|
|Program Name||California Solar Initiative (CSI) (including CSI-Thermal)||New Solar Homes Partnership||Various Program Names||Go Solar California!|
|Budget||$2,167 million (Electric)
$250 million (Gas)
|$400 million||$784 million||$3,351 million (Electric)
$250 Million (Gas)
|Solar Goals||1,940 MW (Electric)
585 million therms (Gas)
|360 MW||700 MW||3,000 MW (Electric)
585 million therms (Gas)
|Scope||All solar systems in large IOU areas except new homes||Solar systems on new homes in large IOU areas||All solar systems in POU areas||All of California|
|Note: Electric budgets are 2007-2016 and Gas budgets are 2010-2017.|
To learn more, visit the Go Solar California website.