Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

CORRECTED: Edison's new solar map: they're looking to buy from small solar

Check it out, big flat rooftop owners: are you in one of the red dot areas on this map? If so, you might be a great candidate to sell your power back to Southern California Edison - if they get their way. 

Edison has submitted an "advice letter" to the Cal Public Utilities Commission. Basically, it's a document that outlines how they're planning to seek power from independent generators, what the rules for applying will be, and what kind of agreements they're gonna want to make.

According to their website, "locating your SPVP project inside one of the identified areas could potentially minimize your costs of interconnection to the SCE system."

So, for translation purposes: "Independent generator" is, for example, someone who puts solar panels on their roof to heat their warehouse. A "purchased power agreement" is a contract between that building owner and the utility for the utility to buy why that house generates when it's not being used on site.* 

It's not really in english aimed at a public audience: the solar installations here would be of the larger building or tract of land variety, so this isn't for you if you've got some panels heating a pool.

But the information is out there about what the utility wants and where the utility wants it. It's like Tom Stoppard said, or Guthrie said, in Night and Day. "Information is light. Information, in itself, about anything, is light." That information could change how people feel they can take part in these agreements, and how small businesses decide to take part in a program like this. And it signals that they actually want to do this kind of business with independent power providers. 

So far only Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric are doing this. Could other utilities be heading down this road? (DWP, even?)


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*CORRECTED: An earlier version of this blog post misunderstood the size of the potential installations Edison is seeking. SCE's Vanessa McGrady writes, "the minimum size of a generating facility that qualifies for the Solar PV Program for Independent Power Producers is 500 kW.  This requires a very large building such as a warehouse." My math was all wrong. I'm sorry for the confusion. 

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