Municipal Utilities Boost Local Economies with Solar Energy

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday the City Council of Palo Alto, California approved the Clean Local Energy Accessible Now (CLEAN) Program, a program developed by the city’s municipal utility that will expand the use of solar energy within its service territory. The approval of the Palo Alto CLEAN Program, also known as a feed-in tariff, highlights the trend towards use of innovative program models by municipal utilities across the country as solar energy becomes more cost competitive and in greater demand by customers.

Under the City of Palo Alto Utilities’ (CPAU) pilot program, medium and large commercial property owners can install rooftop solar with a minimum of 10 0 kilowatts per installation. The city will pay $0.14 per kilowatt-hour for 20-year contracts.

“Pricing for this program is based on the value of local solar energy to the utility, which is a win-win that boosts both the local economy and local renewable production while keeping costs low for ratepayers,” said SEPA President and CEO Julia Hamm. “The approval of the CPAU CLEAN Program marks another milestone in utilities’ efforts nationwide to deliver clean, affordable solar energy to their customers.”

The program will also provide Palo Alto with invaluable permitting, interconnection, metering and billing experience necessary to offer solar energy on an even larger scale in the future. Other benefits of the CLEAN Program include payment for actual energy produced, separation of customer consumption and generation accounts, and better-defined budget expectations and impacts.

According to Hamm, “As utilities continue to explore ways to encourage solar development, I believe we will see growing interest from municipal utilities nationwide in programs similar to the Palo Alto CLEAN Program.”

ABOUT SEPA The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) is an educational non-profit dedicated to helping utilities integrate solar power into their energy portfolios. With more than 1,000 utility and solar industry members, SEPA provides unbiased utility solar market intelligence, up-to-date information about technologies and business models, and peer-to-peer interaction. From hosting national events to one-on-one counseling, SEPA helps utilities make smart solar decisions. For more information, visit www.solarelectricpower.org.