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1972 – Over 45 years of service to the commercial industrial retail real estate industry – 2018.

COST EFFECTIVE SOLAR PV?

July 25, 2013

In 2006, SB 1was signed into law creating the California Solar Initiative (CSI). Among other things, this legislation directed the California Energy Commission to perform a study to investigate whether or not solar PV systems are “cost effective” for new commercial buildings. Such a study is considered a prerequisite to the adoption of solar as a mandate as all measures in the CEC energy standards must be “cost-effective over the life of the structure.”

After six years of investigation, the CEC has released a report concluding that, given certain “assumptions,” solar PV systems can be cost-effective for residential and most commercial buildings. However, several of these critical “assumptions” are highly questionable over the long-haul and place into question the report’s conclusions. For instance:

1. The report assumes “Net Energy Metering” will be available to 100% of solar owners in the near future. At present, the state caps NEM at 5% and each of the major utilities strongly oppose increasing that cap.

2. The report assumes a 20%-40% reduction in panel and labor costs within the next 4-5 years. A 20%-40% reduction in labor costs is highly suspect.

Industry representatives are filing comments raising these and a host of other concerns with the study.

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