Initiated in 2001, the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) offers incentives to customers who produce electricity with wind turbines, fuel cells, various forms of combined heat and power (CHP) and advanced energy storage. For 2013, the incentive payments range from $0.48/W - $2.03/W depending on the type of system. Retail electric and gas customers of San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE) or Southern California Gas (SoCal Gas) are eligible for the SGIP.
Note: California voters approved [Note: California voters approved Ballot Proposition 39 in November 2012. The new law closes a tax loophole, which is expected to provide $1 billion in additional revenue every year. According to the law, half of the new funding collected in the first five years must be used for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects at schools and public facilities, workforce development, and providing assitance to local governments in establishing and implementing PACE programs.
In conjunction with the California Department of Public Utilities, Savings by Design offers services and incentives to help owners and designers of commercial buildings raise energy performance. Qualified non-residential new construction and renovation projects in the service area of one of the five participating utilities are eligible to participate. The five participating utilities are Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Pacific Gas and Electric, San Diego Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and Southern California Gas Company.
Although the California Solar Rights Act of 1978 requires local governments to plan for future passive or natural heating or cooling opportunities in new residential construction, and the California Shade Control Act protects solar systems from shading by vegetation, current state and local laws do not protect installed solar energy systems from shading caused by structures. The County of Santa Cruz has developed a process for registering solar energy systems to provide additional protection to solar energy system owners.
In 1975, the City of Santa Clara established the nation's first municipal solar utility. Under the Solar Water Heating Program, the Santa Clara Water and Sewer Utilities Department supplies, installs and maintains solar water heating systems for residents and businesses. In addition, the city has also installed solar energy equipment for a number of its own facilities.
The County of San Diego has established zoning guidelines for wind turbine systems of varying sizes in the unincorporated areas of San Diego County. Wind turbine systems can be classified as small, medium, or large, and have different siting requirements. Turbines of all sizes must abide by Noise Abatement and Control laws, must have restricted public access using locked fences, non-climbable towers, or other restrictions, and must have appropriate warning signs posted.
The County of San Diego has established [http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/dplu/zoning/formfields/DPLU-316.pdf zoning guidelines] for solar electric systems of varying sizes in the unincorporated areas of San Diego County. Photovoltaic (PV) systems which have their electricity consumed onsite are considered an accessory use in all zone types and are generally permitted as long as they meet the height and setback requirements.
The County of San Diego has a Green Building Incentive Program designed to promote the use of resource efficient construction materials, water conservation and energy efficiency in new and remodeled residential and commercial buildings. As part of the program, the County will waive the fee for the building permit and plan check for a photovoltaic system. In addition, for qualifying resource conservation measures, the County will reduce building permit and plan check fees by 7.5% and grant expedited plan checks, saving approximately 7 - 10 days on the project timeline.