Another View: A sweet deal on solar for consumers

Published: Friday, Jun. 7, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 14A
Last Modified: Friday, Jun. 7, 2013 - 6:53 am

In an editorial ("Bills advance that could have big impact on solar," June 3), The Bee asked again: "Does (California) want to make solar energy available to all residents of the state at reasonable prices, or does it want to side with the utilities, which worry about more change to their business model?"

We'd like to set the record straight. PG&E believes that California should absolutely have more solar at reasonable prices. The change we worry about isn't to our business model. Instead, we worry that some want to do the right thing in the wrong way, by forcing the costs of solar programs on to other customers, not just those who choose to participate.

That's exactly why PG&E worked with consumer group The Utility Reform Network, the Coalition of California Utility Employees and various environmental and minority groups to shape a new "green option" for community solar that is truly a game changer for California.

Our proposal, already being reviewed by the California Public Utilities Commission, is endorsed under Assembly Bill 1014, which gives customers the ability to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from renewable resources without shifting costs to others.

Under our plan, participants would pay the full cost of the new renewable energy supplies, while receiving credits for avoided PG&E generation costs. Consumers would be protected because PG&E would enter into power purchase agreement with developers to secure the best prices and terms for customers.

What's even better, our proposal adds real clean energy, sparking opportunity for new projects to be built near our communities, creating new green jobs.

Real local power. Real California green jobs. And projects funded by those who wish to support them. That's the foundation of our widely supported "green option." We look forward to making it available to our customers in the near future.

Steven Malnight is vice president of customer energy solutions at Pacific Gas & Electric.

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