GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) recently released the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report citing some exciting news! If California was a nation, it would rank sixth in the world for installed solar capacity.
California currently has more solar assets than the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Australia and Belgium. It is the first state in the United states to top 10,000 megawatts of installed solar capacity. It first made history in the first quarter of 2015 by installed 718 MW of solar energy, increasing the state’s total capacity to 10,649 MW. This is enough to power almost 2.6 million homes. Of all the new capacity added to the state, 231 MW were residential, 88 MW were commercial and 399 MW were utility scale. This totals to $1.7 billion investment throughout the state in just the first quarter.
California is leading the nation by demonstrating how to create clean energy jobs and protect the environment. Just to get some context, California has 10 times more installed solar capacity today than the entire U.S. had in 2007. The legislative leaders of California as well as Governor Brown definitely deserve at least a pat on the back or a congratulations for taking the lead in America’s efforts to create a vivacious, growing, clean energy economy.
Public policies such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and Net Energy Metering (NEM) have all been effective in contributing the California’s explosive growth in solar. Solar is still the fastest growing source of renewable energy in the nation. The completion of the Desert Sunlight project located in the Mojave Desert was a huge addition to the use of solar in California. The project generated 550 MW of electricity, enough to power 160,000 California homes.
The residential market also boomed, in part because installed system prices dropped 4% year after year and is now down 50% since 2010. It is expected that residential installations will continue to boom according to a recent report by the California Energy Commission. According to this report, a quarter of all new homes being built in Southern California are constructed with solar energy systems. There are currently 2,226 solar companies working throughout the state, employing 54,700 Californians. The golden state is doing well for themselves and our planet.