Renewable Energy

Improved more than 1 percent from
2015 to 2016

How are we doing?

Renewable energy received a thumbs-up because solar energy installations and added solar capacity in San Diego County continued to increase from 2015 to 2016. However, the year-to-year increase in installations was smaller between 2015 and 2016 than between 2014 and 2015. Renewable energy as a percent of SDG&E sales increased from 35% in 2015 to 43% in 2016, keeping with the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) mandate. Utility-scale solar and wind energy make up most of SDG&E’s renewable energy mix while rooftop solar and distributed generation are not included in SDG&E’s renewable energy calculation. See more information.

Solar installations and added solar capacity continued to increase from 2015 to 2016. However, the year-to-year acceleration has slowed from the previous few years due to perceived changes in the value proposition of solar, such as changes to net energy metering policies.

Data Source: California Distributed Generation Statistics, Distributed Generation Interconnection Program Data, 2017

Why is it important?

  • Energy storage technologies coupled with solar or wind power can provide a more continuous supply of renewable energy to a home or business. Batteries tied to the grid can also reduce utility demand charges by storing electricity during off-peak hours when electricity is cheap and discharging the electricity during peak hours when electricity prices are more expensive. The Self-Generation Incentive Program provides incentives for energy storage systems and other distributed energy projects.
  • Distributed generation, small-scale renewable technologies that produce electricity close to the end user, improves energy security and makes the region more resilient to power outages caused by natural or human disasters.
  • The price per watt for distributed solar systems with less than 10 kW capacity dropped from approximately $4.93 per watt in 2015 to $4.74 per watt in 2016 in the SDG&E territory. See more solar data.

SDG&E is working toward the state’s mandated renewable portfolio standard (RPS) goal to reach 50% renewables by 2030, primarily through large-scale utility solar projects. Of the major investor-owned utilities in California, SDG&E currently has the highest percentage of renewable energy (43% of sales) in its electricity portfolio. As of now, distributed energy resources such as rooftop solar and microgrid projects do not count as renewables in the state’s RPS.

Data Source: Estimates and data provided in SDG&E’s 2016 RPS plan (subject to CPUC review)

SDG&E’s renewable energy mix is based on large-scale utility solar and wind energy with a small portion that includes hydro, landfill gas and biomass.

Data Source: Estimates and data provided in SDG&E’s 2016 RPS plan (subject to CPUC review)

  Idea for Change

Policymakers should explore adding pilot projects related to integrated distributed energy technologies including solar, storage and electric vehicle infrastructure into their climate action plans. Distributed energy resources can create a more flexible, resilient grid and reduce the need for costly capital transmission and distribution system upgrades. In addition, distributed energy resources create local job opportunities, give residents and businesses more control of their utility costs and can decrease utility bills.

  Bright Spot

San Diego is home to the world’s largest lithium ion battery storage facility. When combined with other local projects either completed or contracted, SDG&E has approximately 100 megawatts of energy storage in its service territory. In addition, new residential and commercial plug-and-play energy storage technologies are coming onto the market. These will greatly improve the value of solar and other renewable technologies by reducing utility demand charges and providing a continuous supply of clean energy. Learn more about energy storage.

  What are we measuring?

We measure renewable energy by tracking the number and capacity of new solar installations in the SDG&E service territory. We also track the historical trend of renewable energy as a percentage of SDG&E sales and the distribution of renewable energy procurement by type. Learn more about the data.