California Solar Energy on the rise has increased the number of rooftop solar panels from about 500 to 50,000 in a mere ten years. Of course, there is still a ways to go to reach the Million Solar Roofs called for by Governor Schwarzenegger, but a 100 x fold increase is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, over the past three years alone, sales of solar panels in the Golden State have doubled.
So, where is the hottest solar panel growth occurring? San Diego leads the way with over 2,200 solar rooftops to date. But L.A. and San Francisco are not far behind. Yes, they are green cities, but perhaps for a moment… green with envy, too! Other hot spots include Nevada City with the leading per capita solar installations, and City of Industry (where I send my credit card bill each month), that leads the state with the most capacity per capita (1.5 kW per person installed).
While California solar energy is on the rise, nationwide, solar power still has a way to go. It accounts for less than 1% of electrical power. One thing that could make a difference, however, is to implement a feed-in tariff as Germany enjoys, that would allow property owners to sell back excess generated energy to utilities at a market rate.
In addition, solar energy loan programs like the one in Palm Desert will help defray the costs of solar arrays, as do government tax incentives and credits.
New legislation may be just the thing to continue the rapid growth of California solar energy, as well as getting solar power off the ground in other states, too. For example, the Vote Solar Initiative is pushing for a bill to raise the cap net metering – where consumers cut energy bills by selling power back to utilities.
Could we all follow the lead of California with respect to solar panel installation?
Any new solar programs underway in your hometown?