Governor Brown moves forward with plans to encourage more local solar generation in the state.
California has been on something of a solar frenzy recently, approving permits for more than 4,000 megawatts of new solar power in 2010 alone. Most of that is in the form of large, industrial-scale installations, which will provide lots of power, but also will require transmission infrastructure to get the clean energy from the desert sun to where its needed, primarily, the coastal cities.
This week Governor Jerry Brown is focusing on the other kind of renewable energy: the local kind that is smaller in scale and doesn’t require transmission to get where it’s needed. He’s hosting a conference at UCLA this week to promote his eight-point energy plan announced in June, and map out how the state can meet his goal of 12,000 megawatts of local, renewable energy by 2020. That goal would basically quadruple the state’s current supply of small-scale renewables, according to the non-profit Environment California. The Brown plan consists of specific goals but leaves creation of incentives to regulatory agencies such as the California Energy Commission.
In 2006, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Million Solar Roofs Initiative, which aims to build 3,000 megawatts of rooftop solar power by 2016. As part of this program, the California Solar Initiative provides incentives for installations on homes and commercial buildings for customers of the state’s state’s three investor-owned utilities: Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E). Currently, total small-scale installed capacity in California is 924 megawatts, including 194 megawatts that were installed in 2010, according to the California Public Utilities Commission.