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  • Tuesday, March 5, 2013


    A Glimpse Into The Future Of Renewable Energy In California

    Jessica Lillian, 1 March 2013 (Solar Industry)

    “California's solar market - the U.S.' largest - now stands at the edge of a new era. Although the PV portion of the [$2.2 billion] California Solar Initiative (CSI) - the state's primary incentive program for customer-sited solar generation - has all but wound down, industry advocates are optimistic that other drivers, including the state's aggressive renewable portfolio standard (RPS), will help keep the market moving forward…Californians have installed more than 140,000 solar projects - totaling nearly 1.5 GW - to date…Equally importantly, the average pre-incentive price for a CSI-assisted solar array has dropped from $9.48/W at its most expensive point to $6.10/W today - a reduction of more than 35%...

    “…[The newly released final 2012 Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR) from the California Energy Commission] incorporates full forecasts of energy supply and demand, as well as discussion of the state's most crucial energy issues…Covering myriad energy issues, from natural gas pipeline safety to electrical infrastructure needs to nuclear capacity replacements, the document gives supportive - but realistic - treatment to California's ongoing renewable energy transition, outlining both problems and solutions.”

    “Overall, the [report’s] goal is…a renewable-centric generating portfolio that minimizes cost and risk while maximizing economic, social and environmental benefits…The CEC's recommendations for achieving this delicate balance…include five key strategies…[1]- Identifying suitable geographic zones within the state for developing DG renewable energy projects…[2] Recalculating the ‘true’ costs and benefits of renewable energy by incorporating integration costs, creating levelized cost of generation evaluations that use more accurate assumptions, and adopting ‘changes to procurement practices for utility-scale generation and DG’…

    “…[3] Reducing licensing, planning, transmission and interconnection costs by better preparing the grid to accept increased levels of DG, developing a more integrated planning process, and, for PV specifically, implementing new grid-reliability and control capabilities for inverters…[4] Promoting in-state investment and job creation through renewable energy…[and, 5] Encouraging continued renewable energy research and development (R&D) and financing, in order to continue to lower system costs, improve system operability and encourage the creation of new technologies….”


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