A Pacific Gas and Electric Co. plan to roll out a new Community Solar Choice program to its customers has taken a step forward.
About half of U.S. households and businesses are unable to install rooftop solar due to space limitations or insufficient sun exposure. The new Community Solar Choice program will expand solar access to PG&E residential and business customers regardless of their location or ability to physically install rooftop solar.
The program will offer customers the option to purchase up to 100 percent of their electricity from solar sourced from new small- to mid-sized solar power projects that will be built in PG&E’s service area.
PG&E is seeking proposals from local solar developers across Northern and Central California to build small- and mid-sized solar projects ranging from 0.5 to 20 megawatts. These local solar sites will supply the solar power for customers enrolled in the program. Available to customers in early 2016, Community Solar Choice is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to support the growth of solar and enable customers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their electricity usage.
“At PG&E, we know that solar power is vital for a brighter future here in California. Community Solar Choice gives everyone an option to be a part of that future. Our customers will now have the choice to adopt up to 100 percent renewable energy without the commitment or infrastructure required to install rooftop solar panels. This is a win for our customers and for California,” said PG&E Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Laurie Giammona.
This first program milestone offered solar developers the chance to submit proposals starting July 7 through noon Pacific Time on August 21. Developers are expected to be chosen by the end of 2015. This request for proposals from solar developers calls for a development target of 50 MW of solar resources to provide solar energy to enrolled customers. That’s enough to power an estimated 7,000 households and businesses.
PG&E has already connected more than 180,000 solar customers to the grid and anticipates that through its community solar programs, it will extend access to solar to about 40,000 additional homes and businesses in its service area.
Community Solar Choice will be available to PG&E customers in early 2016.