Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), San Francisco, recently announced plans for a 500MW photovoltaic (PV) initiative. The program encompasses 250MW of utility-owned PV generation and an additional 250MW of PV generation to be built and owned by independent developers under a streamlined regulatory process.

Half of the 500MW portion will come from mid-size PV projects owned by PG&E, typically 1MW to 20MW in size and mounted on the ground or rooftops. The second half of the initiative includes projects developed by independent parties.

PG&E will offer a standard contract and pricing derived from the utility's own costs, thus simplifying the procurement process and streamlining application reviews. The plan has been submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission, San Francisco, for approval, which could come later this year.