California’s CSI program was designed to use gradually declining incentives to nurture an industry that would eventually be able to allow an energy user to generate their own electricity via solar more cheaply than buying from the grid. That point — known as grid-parity — is the point where rooftop solar can sustain itself without additional incentives. That’s when a sustainable industry can exist on its own…without asking politicians or utilities for permission, and having market access or size or rate of return controlled by political processes. The vision is to get to the point where you avoid big bust cycles (e.g. Spain circa 2008, etc, etc. etc.)
So how’s that going? Circa 2005, incentives for PV were about $4.50/W. Since then, the incentives have stepped down in response to market conditions, and incentives from most residential customers in CA are only… $0.25/W.
And the health of the market?
March saw a record number of residential solar incentive applications…more than any other month since the program began.
Grid-parity is just a whisker away.
Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream.