Solar paves way for $192 million in California energy savings

August 10, 2016

For years, big-picture solar advocates have been working toward a day when the benefits of solar generation would go beyond individual home or commercial savings, instead making a measurable impact on the amount of traditional energy generation we required. That day has finally arrived.

This March, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) approved a plan that would cancel more than a dozen transmission projects planned in Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) territory, citing a marked decrease in the expected energy load since the projects were authored and approved just a few years ago. 

"Recent cancelations will save $192 million in transmission costs for PG&E customers."

PG&E's director of ISO relations and FERC policy, Eric Eisenman, said at a CAISO board meeting that the need for the projects "is just not there anymore," Greentech Media reported.  According to Eisenman, the reduction in energy usage is due in large part to the region's adoption of efficiency programs and rooftop solar.  The cancelations are more than just a symbolic victory for solar advocates in California – they will end up saving $192 million in transmission costs for PG&E customers. 

This news comes not long after a report found solar generation in California surpassed wind for the first time to top the list of the Golden State's alternative energy sources. In 2015, utility-scale solar in California accounted for 6.7 percent of the state's energy generation, leaving wind generation behind at 5.3 percent, according to Vaisala.

As solar in California continues to gain momentum, other planned transmission projects will likely be canceled as well, shoring up additional savings and reshaping the state's energy landscape as it pursues its goal of becoming 50 percent renewable by 2030.