California Projected to Lead Solar Race Again in 2013

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According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, in the second quarter of 2012, California again led the nation in installed solar capacity, with a total of 217 MW. The state is expected to lead the nation in the solar race again in 2013.

According to new research from the California-based NPD Solarbuzz, California is projected to keep its position at number one in 2013, much thanks to its combination of policy initiatives and citizen motivation.

This year, San Diego was named the top Solar City in California for the second year in a row by the California Center for Sustainable Energy, making it not only the top city in the state, but in the country – and the city is not ready to lose that title anytime soon.

California has one of the most ambitious Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirement goals in the United States. By 2020, their standards require both public and investor-owned utilities to make 33 percent of all electricity delivered to customers from renewable energy sources.

The Go Solar California Campaign contains several policy initiatives to help the state become more solar friendly. The California Solar Initiative (CSI), for example, is the largest rate-payer-funded solar rebate program in the US. It serves homeowners who are customers of investor-owned utilities, and has supported California’s baseline market demand for solar panels.

The state’s New Solar Homes Partnership provides financial incentives and other support to builders of new, energy efficient solar homes. This, together with the CSI and the several other rebate programs offered through the dozens of publicly owned utilities in the state are key components of the Go Solar California initiative.

The CSI offers San Francisco to San Diego solar customers different incentive levels based on the performance of their solar panels, taking into account system capabilities as well as such factors as installation angle, tilt, and location. This performance framework ensures that California will be generating clean solar energy and rewarding the systems that can provide maximum solar generation.

Although California is leading the race, New Jersey is a close second – and getting closer. New Jersey has intended for increased solar photovoltaic growth within the coming year, as part of the state’s plan to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy. One example of the rebuilding using solar panels is solar-powered traffic lights.

Many homeowners and housing developments within New Jersery will be installing back-up solar generation, either grid-tied or off-grid, which can provide power during future major outages. In 2012, New Jersey’s solar efforts generated 103 MW of solar power.

Despite New Jersey’s efforts, California is projected to be the lead state yet again in solar panel installations and energy generated. California is just 7 years away from reaching its goal of 33 percent renewable energy, and is not planning to slow down anytime soon.

Article by Jeana Brookes

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About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

1 Comment

  1. Just a minor correction. While the California Center for Sustainable Energy supports widespread solar electric and thermal adoption and appreciates the mention in this article, we are not the organization that declared San Diego as the #1 solar city in California, and by extension, the nation. That distinction belongs to the advocacy organization Environment California. You can learn how to put solar power to work for you at http://www.gosolarcalifornia.org.

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