FERC may have recently put the kibosh on states implementing European-style Feed-in Tariffs, but that doesn’t mean the U.S. is left high and dry without ways to drive wholesale solar markets. We’re seeing daily action from utility PV programs that play by FERC’s rules.
Just today, Southern California Edison announced 60 MW worth of contracts under its new wholesale distributed generation (WDG) program. These winning bids will be installed on 31 rooftops and five ground-mounted sites across SCE’s service territory and deliver clean, reliable, wholesale power to the grid (as opposed to meeting on-site load).This is the first traunch of contracts for the utility’s 500 MW distributed solar program – half of which the utility will own and half of which must be contracted like this through independent producers.
As you may recall, SCE proposed the program as a mechanism for meeting its RPS requirements. The RPS may have set the end-goal of 20% by 2010 (with efforts still underway to increase to 33% by 2020), but it was the utility that opted to develop distributed solar to meet part of that requirement – a departure from the previously exclusive focus on large-scale projects in the 10 – 500 MW range. SCE’s move into WDG is significant for a few reasons:
Northern California’s PG&E has a similar program in the works, so expect to see more WDG on the way.
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