In the US, there are some forward thinking utilities that are embracing solar and wind technologies by installing utility scale renewable energy as part of their grid offering to their customers. In some cases they have set some long and short term goals for connecting customers to solar power. Here is news from one of these companies.
PG&E this week is celebrated connecting 10,000 solar customers each in three of California’s largest cities – Bakersfield, Fresno and San Jose – as part of PG&E’s milestone of connecting the 175,000th solar customer to its electric grid. These achievements, along with a new survey finding that 25 percent of Californians are considering solar panels for their home, underscore how quickly California residents are blazing a trail for solar adoption supporting a clean energy future.1
“PG&E proudly supports customer choice when it comes to renewable energy. We connect thousands of new customer-owned solar installations to our grid every month with some of the fastest connection speeds in the nation. This rooftop solar power supplies clean energy to our customers and communities, and is a key part of California’s energy future,” said PG&E’s Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer, Laurie Giammona.
The growth is especially apparent in Bakersfield, Fresno and San Jose as each city celebrates 10,000 local solar customers connected to PG&E’s electric grid, highlighting the innovative spirit of these communities as they invest in a sustainable tomorrow.
Each city has a powerful solar story to tell:
- San Jose is committed to receiving 100 percent of its electrical power from clean, renewable sources by 2022.
- In the Bakersfield area, Kern High School District has plans to install solar-power systems at 27 school sites through the end of 2016.
- In Fresno, students work with nonprofit renewable energy company and longtime PG&E partner GRID Alternatives on a program called Alternative Spring Breakers to install solar panels on the homes of low-income families, as a part of a state energy grant program.
Solar resources for customers
A recent survey found Californians considered the following three roadblocks to going solar:
- Not knowing whether to lease or buy
- Finding the right solar panel vendor
- Not understanding how solar energy works2
PG&E provides resources and tools to help customers navigate the solar landscape. Before going solar, customers are encouraged to start with getting a Home Energy Checkup to ensure their home is energy efficient in order to get the most benefit out of their potential solar system. Through this simple web-based assessment, customers can learn about their household’s energy use and receive a customized list of tips to boost energy efficiency and associated cost savings.
PG&E also recommends three key steps for customers considering rooftop solar:
Explore – Start with PG&E’s quick guide to all things solar. To make an informed decision, customers should also explore the financing options they have for going solar.
Choose – The right contractor is key to getting the system that best fits the needs for each customer’s home and lifestyle. To ensure they ask the right questions and gather all relevant information, PG&E provides helpful tips for finding a contractor and a solar contractor checklist. PG&E recommends customers get bids from at least 3 vendors.
Save – Solar panels can save customers thousands over a lifetime (all while helping the environment) but it’s hard to know what size system is right for each customer’s home. Use PG&E’s solar calculator to estimate costs of installing solar and the bill savings a solar system would generate.