February 2, 2016

Eliminating Red Tape is a Fundamental Part of CalCom Solar's Customer Service Ethic

CalCom Solar was recently able to achieve regulatory relief for ALL California solar customers. Thanks to our efforts, PG&E agreed in January 2016 to change its interconnection requirements for commercial and industrial distribution generation (DG) systems sized between 40kW and 1MW. The new policy will cut solar deployment costs significantly for CalCom Solar customers -- as well as for other solar installations throughout California.

Previously, PG&E had an expensive and outdated requirement for the addition of SCADA reclosers to solar arrays built in their service area. A recloser is a kind of circuit breaker that automatically "recloses" after it has been tripped. They're used to detect and correct momentary interruptions. Since many short-circuits last only a second or so, a recloser improves service continuity by automatically restoring power to the line after a brief fault. However, these reclosers have added millions of dollars to interconnection costs for PG&E customers over the last several years. Further, solar customers with systems sized between 40kW and 1MW -- which can be a common size system for Ag operations -- bore the burden of these higher costs.  

In order to eliminate this excessive expense for our customers, CalCom Solar invested time and effort in an extensive research project. Based on our findings, Calcom Solar was able to develop and present a winning case to PG&E. As a result, PG&E agreed to revise its DG protection requirements for systems sized between 40kW and 1MW. In effect, this revision will eliminate the need for costly SCADA reclosers (PG&E's technical criterion has been updated to ‘other machine or uncertified DG (on the distribution line) >10% of project’).

Bottom line? For future solar array deploymentes, PG&E will now only require reclosers in special circumstances. 

CalCom Solar has several existing projects which will benefit retroactively from this modification, savings our customers thousands and thousands of dollars.

This elimination of unneccesary regulation would not have succeeded without our deep expertise and commitment to maximum solar efficiency. We’re proud that our efforts will cut costs and speed solar interconnections -- not just for the water districts, growers, cold storage facilities, processsor and packers who are our customers -- but for ALL solar customers throughout California.