This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

September 11, 2002

Fiscal Problems Place Sacramento Solar Power Program on Hold

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) announced last week that its popular "PV Pioneer" program is facing fiscal challenges, causing the California utility to put new installations on hold while the program is reevaluated. According to SMUD, "industry costs for producing photovoltaic panels have not declined as expected, and there have been some internal budgeting and state funding shortfalls."

To prop up the program, the SMUD Board of Directors injected $4.4 million in additional funds last week, and may need to add as much as $1.9 million more if state funding doesn't materialize. The additional funds will allow SMUD to honor existing contracts and will not affect rates or impact the utility's budget. Despite the challenges, SMUD is still committed to provide 20 percent of its customer's electricity needs with non-hydro renewable energy by 2011. See the SMUD Solar PV Pioneer Program Web page.

The SMUD Board tackled the program funding problems during its September 4th meeting. See the meeting notes on the SMUD Web site.