Responsibility for California Solar Statistics to fall on Utilities

Last month, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) announced its plan to change the method that the California Solar Statistics website will collect data about the state’s solar installations. The website provides a public reporting system that allows consumers to research data on how much solar each utility administers, how solar-friendly each city is, and the cost and model of each system installed. The proposition looks to transfer the responsibility for collecting the data to the three investor-owned state electric utilities.

Solar installer Clean Solar’s CEO Randy Zechman agrees that the database is useful, “this information allows us to really know what’s happening within the industry and have real data on what systems are sold for, how big, whether they are financed or not financed, and what cities are solar friendly. It’ll certainly help aid in determining what things we may be doing wrong or right from a business perspective. I think at the end of the day there is very little reason not to do it for the gain that’s going to come from it.”

The three state utilities, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas and Electric, and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), may soon need to add certain fields in the customer net-energy metering (NEM) interconnection application and then must transfer this data to post on the California Solar Statistics website. All three utilities expressed concern about the proposed data collection requirements. The utilities were concerned about customer privacy and the potential additional cost of $7 to $22 to each installation.

The CPUC acknowledges the raising costs, but believes that the value of the information will outweigh them and several industry experts agree. Brad Heavner, Policy Director for CALSEIA, believes the information is good for developing the industry and that the database should be back, “We’ve had a year without the database. We want to get it up and running as soon as possible.”

The CPUC is scheduled to vote on the proposal today.

The full article, posted by Solar Industry Magazine, is available here: