Posted by: jbarnesca | July 2, 2011

SB 32 FIT Program Finally Making Progess Toward Implementation

At the end of the 2009 California Legislative session in September the solar PV feed-in-tariff bill named SB 32 from Negrete McLeod was finally passed after a summer of intense lobbying.  The more powerful assembly bill AB 1106 was crushed by powerful utility and large solar company pressure for this much less powerful bill to many peoples’ grave disappointment, including mine.

This bill told the CPUC to implement a program with these major attributes:

  • a must take solar program
  • solar project size up to 3MW
  • a fixed PPA rate for up to 20 years
  • a simplified PPA agreement
  • a simplified interconnection application procedure
  • a program of 750MW in size divided by utilities in the state based on usage

The astute lobbying group was able to make this one aspect of the bill the killer.  THERE was NO requirement that this bill be implemented by the CPUC with any time line.  Hence we are now going to be over 2.5 years or more from the bill’s signing to any implementation of this FIT legislation.

Finally things are about to change in a major way with the June 27th ruling of ALJ DeAngelis on the time lines and procedures for a decision on this bill.  This proceeding is changed to Rulemaking R 11-05-005 for everyone out there from a prior set of rulings filings on related projects.

So here are the key time lines and statements from ALJ DeAngelis’ key new document on June 27th to start this in motion.

She states her goals:

The Commission’s goal is to address implementation of the amendments to section 399.20 in SB 32 and SB 2 1X on an expeditious schedule. I intend to establish a schedule that provides for full implementation, if possible, or partial implementation by the end of 2011.

A prehearing conference is declared for July 11th on this schedule, with  workshops on pricing issues tentatively scheduled for August 31st, 2011 and September 1, 2011.

Most importantly the ALJ states:

“The goal is to present the Commission with a proposed decision on this matter toward the end of 2011 “.

So in summary we are finally rolling toward a conclusion and implementation of this important program for next summer that:

  • is a must take PPA program
  • applies for projects up to 3MW
  • has a capacity of ~750MW(must watch subtraction from prior programs such as CREST)
  • based on ~5MW present PPA program simplified contracts
  • surely will be at least at the MPR table rate, with hope of adders

This is very very important for smaller DG programs, so I will watch this proceeding very closely this summer and fall.

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Responses

  1. Hi John,

    Pricing is a topic of discussion in R 11-05-005. However, I think they’re missing the boat if they want renewable generation to make a dent as distributed generation. I discuss it here on my blog:

    http://regenecon.blogspot.com/

    Would like to get your comments.

    Thanks.

    Dan

  2. Hello Daniel,
    I read your blog comment and I am glad to see more postings of this important topic for California and the US.

    We focus on solar PV farms of the >3MWac level with then spots of 20MWac and multiples of 50MWac. The sub 20MWac projects are targeted at the distribution circuit connections of the Utilities to avoid long and costly transmission line upgrate costs and building delays.

    To make any of these projects work in the new world of sub $0.10/kWh winning PPA bids, the land cost must be in the considerably sub $20,000/acre level. So building where people were going to build shopping centers or near a CA high real estate area is out of the question.

    Someone has an interconnection application in for a >1MW solar installation near my house for instance. I can’t imagine what they are thinking financially?

  3. Thanks for your wise umput on the solar industry. I would like to know more about the SB32 small PPA’s processes and get any contact information for it, as I was told that the 3mw program would bypass the need for the PPA. I have been looking for information on what other then a PPA that the 3mw program would use.
    Thanks
    Ryan

  4. The SB32 expansion of the AB 1969 FIT program is still expecected to be in effect in the March time frame of 2012 with the present timelines of the Administrative Law Judge of the CPUC.

    There will be a determined rate for this program and reduced forms for this application. The PPA agreement terms will be similar to the PG&E terms presented to the CPUC recently in the proceedings of this ruling.

    I wish I could tell you that there are easy and simple to understand documents about this program, but that is not the case as it is quite complicated at the moment. The CPUC rulemaking number is as stated in prior posts as Rulemaking R 11-05-005.


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