Code Section Group

Public Resources Code - PRC


  ( Division 15 added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276. )

CHAPTER 8.8. California Solar Initiative [25780 - 25784]
  ( Chapter 8.8 added by Stats. 2006, Ch. 132, Sec. 4. )


The Legislature finds and declares both of the following:

(a) It is the goal of the state to install solar energy systems with a generation capacity equivalent of 3,000 megawatts, to establish a self-sufficient solar industry in which solar energy systems are a viable mainstream option for both homes and businesses in 10 years, and to place solar energy systems on 50 percent of new homes in 13 years.

(b) A solar initiative should be a cost-effective investment by ratepayers in peak electricity generation capacity where ratepayers recoup the cost of their investment through lower rates as a result of avoiding purchases of electricity at peak rates, with additional system reliability and pollution reduction benefits.

(Added by Stats. 2006, Ch. 132, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2007.)


As used in this chapter, the following terms have the following meanings:

(a) “California Solar Initiative” means the program providing ratepayer funded incentives for eligible solar energy systems adopted by the Public Utilities Commission in Decision 06-01-024.

(b) “kW” means kilowatts or 1,000 watts, as measured from the alternating current side of the solar energy system inverter consistent with Section 223 of Title 15 of the United States Code.

(c) “kWh” means kilowatthours, as measured by the number of kilowatts generated in an hour.

(d) “MW” means megawatts or 1,000,000 watts.

(e) “Solar energy system” means a solar energy device that has the primary purpose of providing for the collection and distribution of solar energy for the generation of electricity, that produces at least one kW, and not more than five MW, alternating current rated peak electricity, and that meets or exceeds the eligibility criteria established pursuant to Section 25782.

(Added by Stats. 2006, Ch. 132, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2007.)


(a) The commission shall, by January 1, 2008, in consultation with the Public Utilities Commission, local publicly owned electric utilities, and interested members of the public, establish eligibility criteria for solar energy systems receiving ratepayer funded incentives that include all of the following:

(1) Design, installation, and electrical output standards or incentives.

(2) The solar energy system is intended primarily to offset part or all of the consumer’s own electricity demand.

(3) All components in the solar energy system are new and unused, and have not previously been placed in service in any other location or for any other application.

(4) The solar energy system has a warranty of not less than 10 years to protect against defects and undue degradation of electrical generation output.

(5) The solar energy system is located on the same premises of the end-use consumer where the consumer’s own electricity demand is located.

(6) The solar energy system is connected to the electrical corporation’s electrical distribution system within the state.

(7) The solar energy system has meters or other devices in place to monitor and measure the system’s performance and the quantity of electricity generated by the system.

(8) The solar energy system is installed in conformance with the manufacturer’s specifications and in compliance with all applicable electrical and building code standards.

(b) The commission shall establish conditions on ratepayer funded incentives that require all of the following:

(1) Appropriate siting and high quality installation of the solar energy system by developing installation guidelines that maximize the performance of the system and prevent qualified systems from being inefficiently or inappropriately installed. The conditions established by the commission shall not impact housing designs or densities presently authorized by a city, county, or city and county. The goal of this paragraph is to achieve efficient installation of solar energy systems to promote the greatest energy production per ratepayer dollar.

(2) Optimal solar energy system performance during periods of peak electricity demand.

(3) Appropriate energy efficiency improvements in the new or existing home or commercial structure where the solar energy system is installed.

(c) The commission shall set rating standards for equipment, components, and systems to assure reasonable performance and shall develop standards that provide for compliance with the minimum ratings.

(d) Upon establishment of eligibility criteria pursuant to subdivision (a), no ratepayer funded incentives shall be made for a solar energy system that does not meet the eligibility criteria.

(Added by Stats. 2006, Ch. 132, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2007.)


The commission shall do all the following:

(a) Publish educational materials designed to demonstrate how builders may incorporate solar energy systems during construction as well as energy efficiency measures that best complement solar energy systems.

(b) Develop and publish the estimated annual electrical generation and savings for solar energy systems. The estimates shall vary by climate zone, type of system, size, life cycle costs, electricity prices, and other factors the commission determines to be relevant to a consumer when making a purchasing decision.

(c) Provide assistance to builders and contractors. The assistance may include technical workshops, training, educational materials, and related research.

(d) The commission shall annually conduct random audits of solar energy systems to evaluate their operational performance.

(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 627, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2009.)


The commission shall adopt guidelines for solar energy systems receiving ratepayer funded incentives at a publicly noticed meeting offering all interested parties an opportunity to comment. Not less than 30 days’ public notice shall be given of the meeting required by this section, before the commission initially adopts guidelines. Substantive changes to the guidelines shall not be adopted without at least 10 days’ written notice to the public. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any guidelines adopted pursuant to this chapter shall be exempt from the requirements of Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

(Added by Stats. 2006, Ch. 132, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2007.)

PRCPublic Resources Code - PRC