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 July 14, 2016, the total capacity of all Palo Alto PV systems was 7.79 Megawatts (MW), representing 81% of the 9.5 MW Net Energy Metering Cap.
California state law requires electric utilities to offer net energy metering and billing to solar customers until the total amount of solar capacity reaches 5% of the utilities' peak demand.
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.
Once the cap is reached, the City of Palo Alto Utilities will offer the Net Energy Metering Successor program.
The proposed NEM Successor program report will be going to City Council for approval later this summer and can be found here.
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.
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 2015 update to the 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.