The prominent utility company Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will soon be offering its customers the option of getting up to 100% of their electricity from solar power, for a “modest” cost premium, according to a recent press report.
The utility reportedly only just received approval from state regulators for the new program — it’s expected that the company will start allowing enrollment in the program sometime during the fourth quarter of this year.
“Our green option is all about giving customers the power to choose and about bringing the benefits of solar to our communities. Our customers already enjoy some of the cleanest power in the United States, but we want to help them do even more to support clean energy and the green economy. Our green option will let them buy into a pool of clean solar energy, locally produced in our service area, to meet all of their electricity needs,” stated Chris Johns, president of PG&E.
As noted by a recent report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, only one in every four or so residential rooftop areas are suited for solar installations — as a result, those looking to “go solar” may not be able to do so depending on where they live. This new program is intended to address that to some degree.
PG&E will buy energy for the program from newly developed small and mid-sized solar projects located within its service area. Participating residential and commercial customers can choose to cover either 50 or 100% of their energy use. They will pay the incremental cost of the new solar energy they consume, as well as related program costs. The initial estimated premium of 2-3 cents per kilowatt-hour likely will fall over time as solar costs decline relative to the cost of PG&E’s standard power, which is more than 25% renewable today.
“This program offers a great opportunity for PG&E customers who want to reduce carbon pollution and buy 100% clean energy,” stated Peter Miller, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “PG&E’s green option is a big win for Californians and the environment.”
A separate program will reportedly be on offer as well — allowing customers to deal directly with 3rd-party developers for a portion of the output of local projects.
Image Credit: PG&E
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