California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Sunday signed into law a bill creating a feed-in tariff for small solar power systems between 1.5 and 3 megawatts (MW) in size, according to a Dow Jones report.
California utilities will be required to purchase power from these small-scale producers at set rates, that could be between 15 and 17 cents kwh, a level that some companies believe won’t generate much investment in new solar, according to the report.
A separate feed-in tariff is currently under consideration by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). That program would require the state’s three publicly owned utilities to purchase power from solar power systems between 1 MW and 20 MW in size. Developers of these systems would compete in reverse auctions to set the purchase price, and the entire program would be capped at 1,000MW of solar capacity.
Schwarzenegger reportedly sent a letter to the State Senate stating that the CPUC should proceed with its program, because the state will need “all of the tools available” to meet its renewable energy goals.
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) in July established its own feed-in tariff, and Ben Block of the World Watch Institute wrote in August that North America is at the tipping point in recognizing the effectiveness of these programs for incentivizing renewable energy development.