Can California Customers Directly Connect to the Grid Using a PURPA Application Instead of Going Through PG&E or the Local IOU for Net Metering or Net Billing? Posted on Jun 12, 2024

California's major Investor Owner Utilities (IOUs), including Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), have comprehensive interconnectivity rules approved by the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC). These rules are essential for developers looking to interconnect solar generating systems to the utility grid. While PURPA (Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act) allows qualifying facilities, including certain solar installations, to interconnect directly with the utility, this is typically for larger installations, often commercial or industrial in scale. The IOU's net energy metering and net billing tariff programs allow for the interconnection of solar systems to the utility grid while enabling the sale of surplus electricity to the utility under various tariffs  Davis v. Southern California Edison Co., 236 Cal. App. 4th 619, § 86.51 Incentive Programs. For all interconnections options with the grid, the legal framework requires that any disputes or interpretations related to interconnection applications be addressed by the CPUC, as it holds exclusive jurisdiction over such matters  Davis v. Southern California Edison Co., 236 Cal. App. 4th 619, § 2107. Penalty for offenses not otherwise provided, Cal Const, Art. XII § 4, Rates and rules of transportation companies. This regulatory setup suggests that interconnecting through established programs like NEM or NBT, rather than a PURPA application, might be necessary to comply with state regulations. Thus, while PURPA interconnection is an option, it is generally more applicable to larger-scale projects and may not be the preferred route for individual residential solar customers in California.