California Solar Initiative

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California Solar Initiative is a renewable energy program in the United States.

As part of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Million Solar Roofs Program, California has set a goal to create 1,940 megawatts[1] of new, solar-produced electricity by 2016 — moving the state toward a cleaner energy future and helping lower the cost of solar systems for consumers.

The California Solar Initiative has "a total budget of $2.167 billion between 2007 and 2016 and a goal to install approximately 1,940 MW of new solar generation capacity." [2]

The CSI initially offered cash incentives on solar PV systems of up to $2.50 per AC watt. These incentives, combined with federal tax incentives, could cover up to 50% of the total cost of a solar system. The incentive program was designed so that the incentives would reduce in steps based on the amount of solar installed in each of 6 categories. There are separate steps for residential and non-residential customers in the territories of each of the State's 3 investor-owned utilities. As of July 2012, the rebates range from $0.20 to $0.35 per AC watt for residential and commercial systems and from $0.70 to $1.10 for systems for non-profits and government entities.[2]

There are many financial incentives to support the use of renewable energy in other US states.[3]

CSI provides more than $2 billion worth of incentives to customers for installing photovoltaic,[4] and electricity displacing solar thermal[5] systems in the three California Investor-Owned Utilities service territories.

The program was authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and by the Senate Bill 1 (SB 1):

  • Decision (D.) 06-01-024, in collaboration with the California Energy Commission, with the goal of installing 3,000 MW of new solar facilities in California's homes and businesses by 2017.
  • On August 21, 2006, the Governor signed SB1, which directs the CPUC and the CEC to implement the CSI program consistent with specific requirements and budget limits set forth in legislation.

Responsibility for administration of the CSI Program is shared by Investor-Owned Utilities:

Residential installation starts in early 2007 fell off sharply in SCE territory because of the disincentives inherent in SB1, requiring time-of-use (TOU) tariffs, with the result that homeowners who install panels may find their electric bill increasing rather than decreasing. The governor and legislature moved quickly to pass AB1714 (June 2007) to delay the implementation of this rule until 2009.

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