Community choice aggregators

Community choice aggregators

February 20, 2018 | By Keith Martin in Washington, DC

Community choice aggregators and rooftop solar took about 25% of the retail load away from investor-owned utilities in California in 2017.

A CCA is a legal entity that buys electricity for local residents. Eight California counties have them currently. The oldest was formed in 2010. Another 12 are expected to be formed in 2018.

California assigns retail customers to CCAs by default unless they choose another electricity supplier. The staff of the California Public Utilities Commission estimates that as much as 85% of the electricity load will have shifted away from the utilities to CCAs and other suppliers by the mid-2020s.

At least six other US states now also allow CCAs. They are expected to be significant outlet for renewable energy projects over the next few years. For example, Peninsula Clean Energy, a CCA in San Mateo County, California, has signed at least nine long-term power purchase agreements to buy 550 megawatts of renewable energy. Marin Clean Energy gets more than a half of its power from renewables.

At least two 100-megawatt solar projects have been financed on the basis of power contracts with California CCAs, and a wind project is currently in the market. In the first of the two solar projects to reach financing, the lenders set up shadow credit metrics. If performance dips below these metrics, then cash is swept to repay the debt more quickly.