Solar Programs in Palo Alto

Considering solar? 

Rebates are still available for residential and commercial solar water heating installations. Please visit the Solar Water Heating program page here.

Information on residential solar power (PV) can be found
here.

All PV Partners rebate funds have been fully reserved as of April 22, 2016.  For information about how to apply to the PV Partners program wait-list for projects on small or medium commercial sites click here.

What is the status of the Net Energy Metering program? 

As of August 22, 2016, the total capacity of all Palo Alto PV systems was 7.76 Megawatts (MW).

The City of Palo Alto Utilities expects to reach the net energy metering cap in 6 to 12 months depending on the amount of new solar installations.

On August 22, 2016, City Council approved the Net Energy Metering Successor program and directed staff to develop alternatives to the NEM grandfathering policy for City Council to approve later this year. Council also directed staff to use a modified method to calculate the NEM cap, which will increase the cap from the prior cap of 9.5 MW.  
 

The revised NEM cap will be announced in September.

Net Energy Metering and Billing for Solar Customers

Net Metering is a special billing arrangement for City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) customers with an approved Photovoltaic System (PV) interconnection. CPAU shall read the electric meter monthly and issue a monthly electric charge or credit per the applicable electric rate. Residential rates are located here, and Business rates are here.

You will need to complete, sign and submit the City of Palo Alto Utilities' Net Metering and Interconnection Agreement when you install a new PV system, add to an existing PV system, or open a new CPAU account for a home with an existing PV system.

Monthly billing for solar customers is described in CPAU’s Net Metering Billing Explanation.

Annual Settlement: If a customer’s PV system has generated more electricity in a year than is consumed, the customer should make an election to determine whether to carry the net surplus electricity forward into the next settlement year, or to cash out using the Net Surplus Electricity Compensation Rate. To make an election, click here to download CPAU’s Net Surplus Electricity Election Form

Harnessing the power of the sun!

Palo Alto is using clean, renewable electric supplies as an integral part of its plans for a more sustainable future.  

We feel investing in solar systems locally and statewide is a great way to achieve our environmental goals.
 By the end of 2016, we expect 32% of the City's total electricity supply will come from solar PV systems located in California.  Click here to view a map of the utility-scale PV system locations.

New Solar Generation: The Frontier Solar plant officially began commercial operations in July 2016, becoming the City’s third utility-scale photovoltaic plant to come online. The Frontier Solar project will generate an output of 20 megawatts (MW) solar electric energy, which is enough to serve more than 5% of Palo Alto’s total electric needs each year, or enough to power about 6,000 homes. In addition, two more utility-scale solar plants are expected to begin operating by the end of 2016: the 40 MW Elevation Solar C project, and the 20 MW Western Antelope Blue Sky Ranch B project. When these two projects are operational, solar power will supply about one-third of the City’s total electric supply needs on an annual basis.

Local solar plan:  On April 21, 2014 the Palo Alto City Council approved a resolution to establish the Local Solar Plan to increase the installation of local solar photovoltaic facilities in order to provide 4 percent of the City’s total energy needs by 2023. Future programs under evaluation include a Community Solar Program, Group-Buy solar discount program and a solar donation program. Click here to read the updated Local Solar Plan.

Palo Alto's solar technical potential map is located here.

Watch an interview with Marketing Engineer Lindsay Joye about solar initiatives in Palo Alto.

Local generation: Large in-town systems provide renewable electric generation directly to the utility.   Palo Alto's CLEAN (or feed in tariff) program, offers commercial generators the option of signing a long-term contract to sell the renewable energy to the utility as it is produced.

Solar on City-owned facilities: The City of Palo Alto has solar installed on City-owned sites throughout town.
Click here to see them all.

Streamlined permit process:
 Palo Alto's PV Permitting Instructions are listed here.
Visit the City's Development Center webpage describing their improved permitting procedure.

Learn more about our renewable energy portfolio: The City of Palo Alto has a carbon neutral electric utility portfolio.  This means that we have contracts for large amounts of renewable electricity resources, including solar systems, wind farms, hydroelectric projects and landfill gas facilities. Get the full scoop on these resources.

Last Updated: Aug 25, 2016