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CPUC Adopts 'Solar-Friendly' Rate for Commercial, Industrial Customers

In a decision applauded by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on December 18 approved a solar-friendly rate for medium and large commercial and industrial customers in both Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Southern California Edison's (SCE) service territories. The CPUC approved a decision which approved the "Option R" rate as proposed by SEIA. This optional tariff would be available to customers on PG&E's E-19 and E-20 tariffs for medium and large commercial and industrial customers, who have on-site renewable generation systems. The Option R rate would lower customers' demand charges in exchange for higher energy rates, particular during peak and part-peak hours, making it "solar friendly," according to SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch.

Under the Option R rate, there is no cap on the number of customers or megawatts. The CPUC also approved a Settlement Agreement between SEIA, SCE and the Commission's Office of Ratepayer Advocates (ORA), in which SCE agreed to increase the cap on its Option R rate from 150 megawatts (MW) to 400 MW, benefitting medium and large commercial and industrial customers with on-site renewable generation systems.

"Today's decision recognizes that the utilities' current demand charge rate structure for certain commercial customers fails to appropriately compensate solar customers for their solar PV systems' effective capacity. Option R sets the stage to grow this segment of the solar market," Resch said. "We commend CPUC for resolving this inequality." Today, California ranks first in the nation in installed solar capacity with more than 8,544 MW – enough to effectively power 2.2 million homes.

About SEIA:
Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2014, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.

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