Renewable Energy & Storage

How Are We Doing?

Renewable energy and storage received a thumbs-up because of increased distributed solar PV and increased renewables on the grid. Tens of thousands of new solar PV systems were installed in 2018, an increase of nearly 27% from 2017. In 2018, San Diego County reached a cumulative 1,000 megawatts installed PV capacity, the highest among California counties. Renewable energy as a percentage of San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) sales was 44% in 2017, exceeding the state’s renewables portfolio standard (RPS) mandate of 33% by 2020, and leading in the state. Utility-scale solar and wind energy make up most of SDG&E’s renewable energy mix. Megawatts of non-solar clean electricity production also increased 44% compared with 2017 through the Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) incentives. Want to know more about what we're measuring?

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Improved more than 1 percent from 2017 to 2018

Data Source: California Distributed Generation Statistics, Distributed Generation Interconnection Program Data, 2018

New solar installations in SDG&E service area increased 27% from 2017 to 2018, however, the number of new installations remains below 2016 levels. The majority of the new installations in 2018 are from residential rooftop solar systems.

Data Source: California Distributed Generation Statistics, Distributed Generation Interconnection Program Data, 2018

San Diego County has the highest distributed PV capacity in California with approximately 1,000 MW at the end of 2018. The PV capacities in four other counties (Fresno, Santa Clara, San Luis Obispo, and San Francisco) are shown on the graph and the average household electricity use in each of the counties is compared in the electricity use indicator.

Data Source: California Distributed Generation Statistics, Self-Generation Incentive Program Data, 2018

The data shows energy storage projects that submitted incentive applications through the California Public Utilities Commission's Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) which incentivizes clean electricity production from new and eligible sources which today includes wind, fuels cells, combined heat and power and advanced energy storage. In SDG&E’s service territory, SGIP applications more than doubled from 2017-2018 for an additional capacity of 15 MW. Over 95% of the applications are for residential battery storage projects, with approximately 9 MW capacity.

Why is it Important?

High quality of life means a clean environment, a thriving economy, and an equitable place for all to enjoy.

  • Renewable energy is important in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality. When coupled with energy storage, renewable sources provide a continuous energy supply, increasing system reliability and cost-effectiveness.
  • Distributed generation, small-scale renewable technologies that produce electricity close to the end user, makes the region more resilient to power outages.
  • The cost per Watt for distributed solar systems with less than 10-kW capacity dropped from approximately $4.39 in 2017 to $3.47 in SDG&E territory, excluding upfront incentives (including the 30% federal solar tax credit which however decreases to 26% in 2019).

Data Source: California Energy Commission, Power Content Label 

In September 2018, California adopted SB100, the 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018, that increases the current mandated renewables portfolio standard (RPS) from 50% renewables to 60% renewables by 2030 and establishes state policy requiring 100% zero-carbon electricity by 2045.

SDG&E is on track to meet the 60% renewables by 2030 goal, primarily through large-scale utility solar projects. Of the major investor-owned utilities in California, SDG&E currently has the highest percentage of renewable energy (44% of sales) in its electricity portfolio and has no coal contracts. Distributed energy resources such as private rooftop solar and localized microgrid projects do not count as renewables in the state’s RPS but SDG&E territory has the highest amount of installed distributed solar in the state.

Data Source: SDG&E Power Content Label

SDG&E’s renewable energy mix is based on large-scale utility solar and wind energy with a small portion that includes hydro, landfill gas and biomass.

Data Source: SDG&E Power Content Label

SDG&E’s renewable energy mix is based on large-scale utility solar and wind energy with a small portion that includes hydro, landfill gas and biomass.

Regional Response

Policies

Several local climate action plans (CAPs) have a policy to significantly increase the percentage of renewable electricity supply by 2030, beyond the state mandate of 60% in 2030. The City of San Diego's adopted CAP policy is to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2035. The City of Solana Beach's CAP has a goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2030 which it has already started implementing at 75% renewables since mid-2018. The City of Encinitas' CAP has a goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2030.

Projects

The Clean Coalition, a clean energy nonprofit, recently conducted a Solar Siting Survey in San Diego to identify potential locations at which commercial-scale solar could be deployed. This effort was funded by a Federal grant program in conjunction with the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The survey identified over 120 sites that could potentially host a 1 MW project. When considering smaller projects on the scale of 100 kW to 500 kW, the total technical solar siting potential could increase by up to 2 GW. The Clean Coalition is also exploring the development of a feed-in tariff (FIT), a financial mechanism that could incentivize and streamline the development of commercial-scale solar in San Diego.


What Are We Measuring?

We measure renewable energy by tracking the number and capacity of new solar installations and the increase in incentivized energy storage projects in the SDG&E service territory. We also track the historical trend of renewable energy as a percentage of SDG&E sales and the distribution of renewable energy procurement by type. Learn more about the data.