PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2021

COVID-19 Response

Distributed Generation and Storage

Distributed energy resources, such as rooftop solar and customer battery storage, allow customers to have more control over the energy that powers their lives and contribute to California’s clean energy future.

Our Approach

PG&E is committed to expanding the use of clean distributed energy options to meet customer energy, resilience and affordability needs, while supporting California’s greenhouse gas reduction and other environmental goals.

PG&E provides a variety of tools and resources for customers who want to use solar energy, other distributed generation and storage. Our website provides information on the process for adopting solar and helps customers determine if solar is right for them. PG&E also offers incentive programs for low-income solar, fuel cells, wind and battery storage.

Customers who want to invest in solar, but are unable to install on-site generation, can enroll in PG&E’s community renewables programs, which give customers the option to purchase up to 100% of their electricity from a program generating solar power within California:

  • We saw steady growth in Solar Choice, our general market program, ending the year with participation at 34 MW.
  • We opened the Green Saver program, our first community renewables program targeting customers in disadvantaged communities, in 2020 and it was fully subscribed by year-end.
  • We approved contracts for 4.65 MW of solar to supply Green Saver customers and an additional 6 MW of solar resources procured for the Local Green Saver program, another community renewable program targeting customers in disadvantaged communities through which participants will eventually enroll in specific solar projects that come online.

2020 Milestones

In 2020, PG&E reached a milestone of over 530,000 customer solar systems—totaling more than 5,000 MW—connected to PG&E’s electric grid. During the year, PG&E connected nearly 60% of customer solar systems to the electric grid within three days.

An increasing number of customers are also adding storage to their solar systems or installing stand-alone storage. As of year-end 2020, there were nearly 19,000 customers with battery storage at their homes or businesses (225 MW of capacity). In 2020, installed customer storage capacity more than doubled compared to 2019.

In addition to facilitating solar and storage adoption, PG&E continued to support clean energy technologies through direct incentives and customer education:

  • Helped customers build resilience using energy storage. As of year-end 2020, we received approximately 6,100 applications in both the SGIP Equity Resiliency and Equity budget categories. Both were significantly oversubscribed at $275 million and $77 million, respectively, for the 2020 to 2024 program. In addition, we received approximately 5,500 applications for SGIP’s General Market budget category, which represented $17.6 million in incentives.
    Overall, 2020 was a historic year for SGIP, with over 10,000 applications across all budget categories. While the vast majority of interconnections will occur in 2021, we completed approximately 4,330 by the end of 2020. This included about 690—12%—of the Equity Resiliency interconnections.
  • Offered solutions for those with medical needs during PSPS events. In 2020, PG&E and the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) launched the Disability Disaster Access and Resources Program, a joint effort to aid people with disabilities, medical and independent living needs, as well as older adults. The program provides qualifying customers who use electrical medical devices with access to backup portable batteries and provides emergency plan preparedness and PSPS in-event support.
    This included providing accessible transportation resources, lodging, food and gas vouchers. As of year-end 2020, CFILC assessed approximately 1,700 customers, responded to over 150 medical baseline customers during PSPS events, and provided over 1,000 portable batteries, approximately 560 hotel vouchers, over 30 customers with accessible transportation to Community Resource Centers and hotels, and approximately 900 food vouchers.
  • Launched Portable Battery program. We partnered with community-based organizations and third-party contractors to offer emergency plan preparedness and provide backup portable batteries to customers. We targeted low-income customers on PG&E’s medical baseline program who live in Tier 2 and 3 high fire threat districts or who have experienced multiple PSPS events.
    The program leverages five Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) providers, as well as Richard Heath and Associates, to provide support for targeted customers. As of year-end 2020, the resource partners provided outreach to approximately 22,000 customers, conducted energy assessments for over 8,800 customers who were eligible and interested in batteries, and provided over 5,550 portable batteries of various sizes to customers.
  • Supported customer solar water heating. We provided average incentives of about $3,400 each to single-family residential solar water heating projects, and an average of $54,000 for multi-family residential and commercial solar water heating installations.
    These incentives have helped support nearly 2,200 gas-offsetting projects of all types since the program’s inception, which, in total, are expected to avoid more than 2.1 million natural gas therms annually. The solar water heating program accepted applications through July 31, 2020, and projects will continue to be completed and receive incentives through 2021 and beyond.
  • Raised customer awareness of solar power and other clean generation and storage technology options. Through our Energy Centers, we offered a wide range of training opportunities on solar, storage and other technologies for different audiences and education levels, both live and simulcast. We held 15 classes on solar and other technologies in 2020 with over 800 attendees.

Measuring Progress

PG&E’s service area has seen consistent growth in customer solar adoption in recent years, averaging more than 60,000 interconnected solar systems per year over the last five years.

PG&E Customer Solar Interconnected Systems by Year
Total Solar Interconnections = 530,000+
1993 – 2000 136
2001 497
2002 1,066
2003 1,592
2004 2,945
2005 2,606
2006 4,070
2007 6,258
2008 6,507
2009 8,982
2010 10,372
2011 13,470
2012 17,506
2013 29,008
2014 45,261
2015 65,228
2016 67,634
2017 56,057
2018 59,041
2019 65,820
2020 65,993