California’s flagship solar support scheme still vital after rebates run-out: report

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Despite running out of rebate funds, the California Solar Initiative (CSI) can still boost PV uptake in the state, according to a new report.

The California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) has claimed that the non-financial support provide buy the scheme can and should continue.

“While the support provided to the solar industry by the CSI program’s monetary incentives are clear, the program’s indirect, non-incentive benefits have been equally important to the success of California’s distributed generation solar market,” said Sachu Constantine, policy director, CCSE.

“Even with this tremendous success, a large potential market for residential and small commercial solar will continue to exist long after the program’s monetary incentives are exhausted,” said Constantine. “Of California’s 7.8 million single-family homes, only 2% have solar electric systems.”

The rebates offered by the CSI scheme, lasted four years less than anticipated due to the popularity of the scheme.

The CCSE argues that other benefits including consumer protection, availability of information and data, streamlined grid connection and permitting processes and low-income access to solar should continue.

“Without a strong statewide effort, disconnected and inconsistent processes and efforts will almost certainly result in a degraded market for residential and small-scale commercial solar and will therefore undermine California achieving its ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction goals,” said Len Hering, executive director, CCSE.

The report, Distributed Generation Solar in California: Framework for Policy and Regulatory Oversight in the Post-California Solar Initiative Era, is available online at CCSE’s policy website.

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