Progress Report on the California Solar Initiative

SunCentric, Inc. has released a new progress report on the California Solar Initiative (CSI) that shows only marginal market expansion in the state compared with the program’s stated goals. The report also examines the positive impact that an eight-year extension of the federal Investment Tax Credits may have on future growth of the CSI.

The report’s author, SunCentric CEO Glenn Harris, says that the premise of the research was simple: “Now that we are nearly two years into the 10-year program,” he writes, “how are we doing in connecting 3,000 megawatts (MW) to the grid and creating a self-sufficient solar industry?”

This CSI progress report comes one year after SunCentric’s initial report titled, California Solar Initiative — Triumph or Trainwreck?


Table 1 shows that after 1.75 years of the 10-year program, approximately 90 MW of solar systems have been connected to the grid, a little more than 3 percent of the program’s goals. The report takes a look at each area outlined in the table above and describes some of the ongoing issues with both implementation of the program and the data reported.

“Remember, California’s former solar programs, the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) Emerging Renewables Program and the California Public Utility Commission’s (CPUC) Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) are over,” says Harris. “They may continue to contribute some completed MWs into 2009, but new projects now go to the three programs created by Senate Bill 1 (SB1); the CPUC’s CSI, the CEC’s NSHP and the Publically Owned Utilities (POU).”

The CPUC has also released its Staff Report looking at the progress of the CSI. The report points out that California is experiencing record demand for solar because of the state’s aggressive goals.

But Harris believes the CPUC report does not tell the whole story.

“Other papers are likely to present data from these former programs mixed with data from the CSI. As a consequence, they do not accurately portray the results of the CSI,” he says.

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