Fast Solar Energy Facts
California Energy Crisis
Fast Facts
California Energy Crisis Statistics

1-2Q 2001 bids from conventional power producers to the State of California averaged 6.9 cents per kWh.

Details of the first 38 signed contracts (resulting from these bids) between the State of California and the power providers in 1H 2001 reveal the following. Total expenditure will be $43 billion over ten years. Average prices are:

$138 Megawatt hour
$106 Megawatt hour
$89 Megawatt hour
$75 Megawatt hour
$59 Megawatt hour

Source: State of California, Department of Water Resources

Some 50% of these contracts have provisions that link contract prices to the market price of natural gas. This price structure is typical for these kind of contracts and spreads the risk associated with varying energy prices.

Average peak prices paid during 1H 2001 in California have been around $3.50 per megawatt hour (or 35 cents per kilowatt hour).
Actual January-April 2001 average prices were $284 Megawatt hour.
The highest price paid to date by the State of California during the energy crisis was reported at just under $3900 per Megawatt hour (or $3.90 per kilowatt hour).
While the average monthly electricity bill was $70.68 in the USA in 1999, the average bill was $58.70 in California. Monthly average kilowatt hour consumption was 548 kWh, while the national average was 866 kWh.
Source: Energy Information Administration

California Average Electricity Rates (1999)
10.71 cents per kWh
10.05 cents per kWh
7.16 cents per kWh
4.16 cents per kWh
All Sectors
9.34 cents per kWh

Source: Energy Information Administration

Source: US Energy Information Administration
The California Public Utilities Commission has approved average rate increases of 37 percent for the heaviest residential customers and 38 percent for commercial customers, and hikes of up to 49 percent for industrial customers and 15 percent or 20 percent for agricultural customers to help finance the State of California's 2001 energy purchases.
Total forecast spend in 2001 on energy by Californians is $55 billion, compared to around $7 billion in the years prior to the crisis.

California 1999 Gross System Electricity Production (Gigawatt hours)

Biomass and Waste
Imports (from Northwest)
Natural Gas
Imports (from Southwest)

Note: To convert from gigawatt hours into megawatts, divide the number of gigawatts by 8,760 then multiply by 1,000 to get megawatts.

Source: California Energy Commission
Peak electricity demand in California is about 45,000 Megawatts each year (highest hour of electrical usage in any day). The peak levels are during the summer months. Aggregate 1999 demand in California was 234,830,879 Megawatt hours, spread across 13,040,890 customers (Source: US DOE). In June 2001, the State experienced 10 days where power demand exceeded 40,000 Megawatts.
One third of daily demand in the summer in California is driven by air conditioning usage. Just under 70% of California electricity demand comes from commercial users.
California electricity demand declined 11% weather adjusted in May 2001 (vs May 2000). The actual decline (not weather adjusted) was 2%. Reason for the decline? high energy prices have encouraged conservation. Electricity demand declined 12.3% in June (vs June 2000), which is equivalent to 5,570 Megawatts. In July 2001, demand for electricity dropped only 5.2% (vs July 2000). Peak demand, though, dropped by 10.7% in July 2001.
Want to track today's electricity supply/demand balance? Click here to go to the California Independent System Operator (ISO) power ratio or click here to go to the California ISO home page with access to comprehensive power information.
An additional 4000 MW of new power capacity will be in place by the end of September 2001 aggregating to 20,000 MW at the end of 4 years. California power capacity is expected to be 115% of demand by late 2003. This level of surplus is considered necessary for effective operation of de-regulated energy markets.
As of 3rd July, 2001, three new power plants are contributing an addition of 1400 Megawatts of capacity. By September 5th, a total of six plants have come on line in California, three of which a peaking plants.
California Energy Solar Energy developments
Our Solar Electricity Index shows average solar energy prices are 22 cents per kilowatt hour for large solar installations in an average sunny climate (e.g. Los Angeles). Smaller residential installations can range anything from this price up to 40 cents.
On May 16th 2001, the California Energy Commission increased the rebate on Solar Energy Systems to the lesser of 50% off the purchase price or $4,500 per kilowatt (peak) on installations up to one Megawatt (1000 kilowatts). An additional $750 is available for battery storage systems. Please check this web site for further details. The State has paid out about $25 million in rebates since the program started in 1998, $17 million since January 1st, 2001.
The amount of power that could be produced by renewable energy systems and sold back to the grid (called "net metering") was increased from 10 kilowatts to 1,000 kilowatts up until 2003.
The California Energy Commission reported that 653 Solar Energy Systems (related to the CEC buy-down) were installed in California over April-June 2001. A further 1300 Systems were under construction.
Recently announced solar energy deals, including those in California can be found on this site by clicking here.
The other main California solar energy programs can be found on these links. Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Sacramento Municipal Utility District for homes and for businesses. Also please try Alameda Power & Telecom for details of buy back of excess electricity from solar systems and the Pasadena Water & Power $5 watt rebate program or City of Santa Clara rebate program.

Sept 13, 2001
Sacramento, USA: State of California issues Request for Bid for solar photovoltaic program - the draft for public comment has now been issued. Its goal is to purchase and install at least 5MW, 10MW, 15MW of PV power, respectively, in 2002, 2003, and 2004.

Oct 11, 2001
Sacramento, USA: California Governor signs new legislation for tax credits on PV systems up to the lesser of 15% of the net price paid by the customer or $4.50Wp. This is an additional incentive to those programs already in place from the California Energy Commission. Solarbuzz
San Francisco, USA: The city Board of Supervisors approves placing two revenue bond propositions on the November 2001 ballot. If approved by the voters in November, one revenue bond will give the Board the authority to proceed with renewable energy and efficiency projects on both city and private properties. The second measure would allocate up to $100M for solar (and other renewable) energy projects on city owned facilities. The latter measure is anticipated to provide 10MW of solar power and 30MW of wind power. July 23rd, 2001
The California Energy Commission Renewable Energy Programs web site can be found by clicking here. The main California Energy Commission web site can be found by clicking here.
The California Solar Energy Industry Association can be accessed by clicking here or at P.O. Box 782, Rio Vista, California. Telephone number 1 494 709 8043 and Fax number 1 949 709 8044.
Another useful independent California Solar Energy web site including Legislation and Financial incentives can be found by clicking here.

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