PG&E Connects 10,000th Solar Customer

February 05, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

Pacific Gas and Electric Company has connected its 10,000th solar customer to the California grid as the utility continues to lead the nation in solar hook-ups. Glissade Snowboards, a San Francisco snowboard manufacturing company, became PG&E's 10,000th solar customer when the utility connected the factory's 18-kilowatt solar electric system during a recent ceremony celebrating the milestone.

The system provides power to run the factory while excess power is sent back to the PG&E electric grid. PG&E's Net Energy Metering program allows customers to earn a credit for excess power that is then applied toward their own future energy usage.

"We want to support solar technology and do our part to be a responsible business," said Mike O'Reilly, co-owner of Glissade. "Our goal is to equip our facility with high-tech machinery and keep up to date with cutting-edge technology. By combining solar power and robotic cutting equipment, we are able to maintain our high-end snowboard reputation and show the younger generation that solar technology is the future."

Glissade Snowboards benefited from the Emerging Renewables Program, an incentives program an incentive program administered by the California Energy Commission. The program offers financial incentives for solar electric systems less than 30 kilowatts. These rebates are made possible through customer rates of investor-owned utilities such as PG&E.

"This milestone demonstrates PG&E's commitment to solar energy," said Jeff Butler, senior vice president of energy delivery for the utility. "PG&E's popular solar programs and charitable contributions are expanding solar power in California as we become the nation's leading solar utility."

PG&E's Self-Generation Incentive Program provides financial incentives for on-site generation systems such as solar, wind, fuel cell or cogeneration systems of 30 kilowatts or larger. To date, PG&E has paid more than $115 million in rebates for more than 230 solar projects totaling over 30 megawatts.

PG&E supports solar energy in other ways as well. Since 2004 PG&E's Solar Schools Program has awarded 30 solar electric systems valued at $20,000 to underserved schools throughout northern and central California.

PG&E's Solar Habitat Program is a partnership between PG&E and local Habitat for Humanity chapters to fund solar electric systems on Habitat homes in northern and central California.

PG&E's 10,000 solar customers represent more than 70 megawatts of solar generation. In 2004 alone, PG&E interconnected more than half of the new solar electric systems installed in the nation.