This week, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced a major milestone: connection of 150,000 solar customers to their electric grid. This achievement is the result of PG&E’s long commitment to supporting their customers going solar, and comes with some pretty amazing stats*:

  • Today PG&E has more solar customers than any other utility in the U.S.
  • PG&E connects an average 4,000 new solar customers each month through its service territory that spans Northern and Central California.
  • At that pace, PG&E connects a new solar customer to its grid about every 11 minutes.

The path to connecting a new solar PV system to the grid includes multiple steps that in past years commonly included applying for incentives. Since 2007, as a participant in the California Solar Initiative (CSI) program, PG&E has processed more than 70,000 incentive applications through PowerClerk®, online application software that streamlines application processing for both applicants and administrators. Today, even with the wind-down of general market incentives, PG&E continues to use PowerClerk to manage general market projects and to process new incentives for the CSI Multifamily Affordable Housing (MASH) program.

PG&E also recognized early-on the value of giving customers access to high-quality solar estimation tools. Today, PG&E customers can access the Clean Power Estimator® solar calculator directly from PG&E’s website, and with a few simple inputs, receive a personalized estimate that factors in their location, current energy use, planned energy efficiency improvements and financing method. This early analysis arms potential solar customers with enough information to confidently take the next step towards going solar.

Innovating for the future

Clean Power Research is proud to be providing software and solutions that help companies such as PG&E achieve milestones like the one they are celebrating this week. We’re continuing our support of utilities with new products, such as PowerClerk®—an award-winning, next-generation platform that gives utilities the automation, efficiency and flexibility they need to manage increasing volumes of interconnection applications.

Clean Power Estimator is also evolving with the recent launch of WattPlan®, an interactive customer engagement tool that includes new features such as customer interval data integration, automated rooftop analyses using LiDAR data, rate optimization, and much more. Interest in WattPlan has been very strong—stay tuned to hear about more utilities adopting WattPlan.

Although today PG&E has the largest total number of interconnected solar PV systems in its service territory, 150,000 solar customers represents only 2.8% of PG&E’s 5.4 million electric customers. Currently, 10% of Hawaii Electric (HECO) customers in Oahu have installed solar. This high penetration of PV in Hawaii is beginning to challenge HECO’s ability to manage its grid in ways that PG&E has not yet felt. By innovating in interconnection and customer engagement now, PG&E is addressing the current high volume of interconnections while laying the groundwork for a future of ubiquitous solar.

* Information from PG&E Currents article: “With 150,000 Connections, PG&E Celebrates a Major Solar Milestone.