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Skip Navigation LinksPUC > Energy > California Solar Initiative > CPUC Solicits Comments on CSI Budget and Issues Temporary Hold on New CSI Reservations for Large Solar Projects

CPUC Solicits Comments on CSI Budget

Update July 29, 2010: New Assigned Commissioner's Ruling Lifts Hold on PBI, Government/Non-profit Incentive Processing

The Commission issued a new Assigned Commissioner Ruling on July 29, 2010 that lifts the hold on the issuance of confirmed reservations for Performance Based Incentive (PBI) and government/non-profit projects.  The Ruling directs the CSI Program Administrators to resume processing and issuing confirmed reservations for all applications, including those impacted by the temporary postponement and held in queue in the order received, subject to the existing rules and processes of the program.

The Commission will continue to consider the three proposed modifications proposed in the July 9th Ruling (see below), which are 1) removal of the 8% discount rate embedded in the calculation of performance based incentive (PBI) payments; 2) reduction in the incentive rate offered for government and non-profit applicants; and 3) shifting of $20 million from the program administration budget to the incentive budget.

If the Commission adopts either of the proposed incentive modifications, it is intended that such changes would apply only on a going forward basis, applicable to new applications seeking incentives after the date of any such decision.

To read the July 29, 2010 CPUC Ruling cancelling the temporary hold on certain application processing, click here.

From the first Ruling, issued July 9, 2010:


In light of strong program demand, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a ruling seeking comments on a proposal to slightly modify the incentive budget for the California Solar Initiative (CSI).  

The ruling puts a temporary hold, expected to last only until September, on the issuance of new solar reservations for Performance Based Incentive (PBI) projects and all government/non-profit owned projects received after July 9, 2010.  All applications are still being accepted and reviewed for completeness during this time.

The temporary hold on new reservations does not affect the residential Expected Performance Based Buydown (EPBB) market or any project that applied before July 9, 2010.  Given that the program already received more than 300 megawatts for 10,000 new projects since January 2010 that are unaffected by the ruling, the solar market is expected to continue its strong installation trend throughout 2010. Also, most large projects take over a year to come online, and this temporary hold on large projects is not expected to present a major disruption to the solar market.

Now that the program is in its fourth year of operation, the CPUC’s ruling is an attempt to make sure the 10-year program stays on track with its nearly $2 billion budget.   The ruling notes that the CPUC is concerned that the program incentive budget could be depleted before the program achieves its overall megawatt goals.  The ruling seeks comment on slightly reducing incentives for projects over 30 kW, as well as reducing the existing incentive premium for government and non-profit projects.  Under the proposal, which is open for comment, public sector projects would still receive incentives that are higher than any other customer class, but the rebates would be reduced slightly from their current levels. For example, at Step 7, government rebates would be 58 percent higher than commercial-entity rebates, instead of 115 percent higher than commercial-entity rebates.

Below is an explanation on how all applications (new and existing) will be handled while the CPUC considers the potential incentive level change.

Applications Received on or before July 9, 2010

  • All applications that have already been issued a reservation will continue to be processed as normal with the existing incentive level that has already been confirmed.
  • All applications that have not been issued a reservation, but are either in the queue or being reviewed by Program Administrators will continue to be processed as normal with the existing incentive levels.

Applications Received after July 9, 2010

  • All EPBB applications, EXCEPT government/nonprofit-owned applications, will continue to be processed as normal with the existing incentive levels.
  • All Performance Based Incentives (PBI) applications will be reviewed for completeness, however they will not receive a confirmed reservation that sets their incentive level. All government/nonprofit-owned (EPBB or PBI) applications will be reviewed for completeness, however they will not receive a confirmed reservation that sets their incentive level. All PBI and government/nonprofit-owned applications will be put in a queue for reservation until further directed by the CPUC. These applications will also be subject to a potential incentive level change depending on the CPUC's modification of the CSI program.

Please contact your program administrators if you have additional questions. 

Read the July 9, 2010 Ruling

Read the July 29, 2010 Ruling

Read our Fact Sheet

To File Formal Comments:  To comment on proceedings or issues that the Commission is considering , please contact our Public Advisor's Office at: CPUC Public Advisor, 505 Van Ness Avenue, Room 2103, San Francisco, CA 94102; or call 1-866-849-8390 or 1-415-703-2074; or email

More information about the CPUC’s Distributed Generation Proceeding


Last Modified: 9/10/2010

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