Monday, August 1, 2011

Solar Update from PG&E

The following is an update from Pacific Gas & Electric. Part of this report covers the trend of solar interconnections by PG&E’s Generation Interconnection Services (GIS):

Subject: PG&E CSI Update - End of Q2 2011
Dear Solar Community:
With your continued success under the California Solar Initiative (CSI) Program, PG&E has issued incentives for over 30,000 projects, accounting for over $550 million in incentives and over 325 MW since the inception of the Program in 2007.  These amazing numbers continue to grow at a very fast pace and we hope to see this continue through the end of this year and beyond.  You should all be proud of these accomplishments as this would not have been possible without your support and efforts.
We would like to provide you with a few important updates to support your continued success through the rest of 2011.

PG&E CSI Survey
As part of our ongoing efforts to improve your experience with us and our commitment to continuously improve, our internal Research Department will be sending you our yearly CSI survey by email the week of August 1st (this week).  By soliciting your open and honest thoughts, we hope to receive invaluable feedback to help us gauge the effectiveness of our program and administration.  Upon receiving your feedback, we will go through every response and subsequently work towards taking action to better the program and increase your overall satisfaction.  Please note that all answers are confidential and will not be shared outside our team. 
PG&E thanks you in advance for taking the time to complete this email survey as the only way we can get better is for all of us to continue working together.

PG&E CSI Residential Incentive Update
In Q2 of 2011, PG&E received an average of 850 reservations and 850 incentive claims per month and there’s no indication of a decline in reservation and incentive claim submittals. With a large number of projects coming through, PG&E continues to strive to process reservations and incentive claims timely. However, we need your continued support.
Year-to-date percentages for incomplete reservations and incentive claims are still very high at 34% and 22% respectively. With roughly 11 MW remaining in the Residential Step 8 incentive queue, it is very important for you to submit a clean application as we get closer to the next step.
Effective application management is the key to optimizing profit margins on solar installations and inherently reducing reservation and incentive claim approval times.   This means, making sure all the correct information and documents are submitted correctly the first time and being timely in meeting all the required milestones.  Holdups due to application suspensions create delays and increase costs for ALL installers, customers, and Program Administrators alike. 
Therefore, please take the necessary time to ensure that all documents are accurate and complete before submitting them to us. This will help us approve your applications and  get your checks out faster.
If you have questions on completing your application correctly, please email us at and we will be glad to help.

PG&E Interconnection Update
During the second quarter of 2011, PG&E’s Generation Interconnection Services (GIS) Team received 3,419 new interconnection applications from you and also successfully interconnected 2,776 NEM customer projects.  The quarterly averages were 1,139 and 925 respectively.  Our pace for 2011 indicates that we will set new highs in both categories again.
Given our successes in 2011 to date, we are also seeing an increase of projects that do have interconnection issues.  In a small percentage of projects, we have identified projects where customers need to spend additional monies to upgrade facilities to support their individual solar PV system.  In similar cases, contractors and customers may benefit from submitting their applications in advance of actual site construction.  A NEM application and single line diagram will allow the engineering review to start.  This review can determine if additional costs will incur prior to the installation of the PV system rather than after the installation.
There is no generalization that can be applied to which project may run into issues.  Projects delayed have ranged in scope from 5 kW to over 20 kW.  We strive to minimize the types of surprises that are un-expected for vendors, contractors, and customers.  Please be sure to include a cover note to the GIS team asking for an early engineering review to determine if additional costs may apply.

PowerClerk Updates
In Q2 Program Administrators introduced two new features: that will help you with questions on documents and also remind you of due dates for suspended applications.  We hope that these new features will get you through the application process easier.
1.  Paperwork Help Icons - Live Friday, July 1st
Users will find new "Question Mark" help icons next to each paperwork item on all Paperwork Record panels of all application milestones.  Clicking the icon will open the "California Solar Initiative Help Matrix" on the GoSolarCalifornia webpage in a new window and take the user directly to the description of the paperwork item that they have requested. 
This will literally provide the information at the user's fingertips. 
Below is a screenshot of new help icons:
2.  Change in "Next Due Date" functionality for Suspended Applications – This feature went live on Friday, July 1st.  PowerClerk will now display the due dates for suspended applications.  Previously, PowerClerk displayed the PPM or ICF due dates only even if there was a due date for suspended items.

CSI Thermal - Marketing and Outreach Public Workshop
The California Public Utilities Commission will be hosting a public workshop where the CSI-Thermal Program Administrators (PA's) will present their 2-year plans to conduct a marketing campaigns and other activities to raise public awareness of solar thermal technology and facilitate its adoption.
The meeting provides a venue for public stakeholders to identify and discuss issues and concerns related to the proposed M&O plans.  The goal of this forum is to take feedback of stakeholders into consideration prior to the finalization and filing of M&O plans by all PA's on August 31, 2011.
An agenda will be posted on the CPUC website soon.
Details of the event are listed below:
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Courtyard Room
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102

If you plan to attend the workshop in person, please send an RSVP to Damon Franz at
Those not available to attend in person may participate via a webinar and conference line at:
Call-in number: (866) 621-8358  
Access Code: 9632806
Webinar Password: csithermal

PG&E’s Upcoming Classes and Webinars
PG&E offers a wide range of solar and solar water heating education opportunities to you and other customers, both online and in the classroom. Please take advantage of these free classes and webinars and join us at one of our upcoming classes.
For a complete list of classes, please visit our solar classes search form to find the best course for you.
In addition to what we already offer, we are working hard to identify new solar classes and subjects that are of interest to our customers. If you would like to provide a suggestion on a topic for a new solar class, contact us at

PG&E Streamlines Solar-Related Calls
Starting in July; Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) initiated a central phone number for all solar-related calls, serving the Solar Customer Service Center and California Solar Initiative inquiries. When customers call the number they can choose from a menu that includes these categories: general solar questions, solar application-related inquiries, interconnection and net energy metering. PG&E hopes this change provides customers with a simpler and faster way to get their solar questions addressed. The number is (877) 743-4112.

Andrew Yip 
Pacific Gas and Electric Company 
Manager - Solar and Customer Generation
Want to learn about Solar? PG&E offers a wide range of education and training opportunities for different audiences on a variety of solar related topics. For more information, please visit .

For your residential and commercial solar needs contact us at:

Joe Joson

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