California Solar Initiative reaches 1GW milestone

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California has reached a major PV energy milestone as state regulators announced that over 1GW of PV power has been installed through the California Solar Initiative.

The California Solar Initiative is a statewide program that encourages homeowners and businesses to install solar panels, and offers rebates as high as $2.50 per watt.

The ten-year, $2.4 billion program was launched back in 2007, with the aim of installing just under 2,000 MW of solar power by 2016. The goal is to help the industry achieve ‘grid parity’ – when going solar is the same price as using traditional sources of energy like natural gas.

The city of San Jose leads the pack with 54.6 MW of solar capacity installed on homes and commercial buildings; San Diego comes in as the close second, followed by Bakersfield, Fresno and Lancaster.

“California has the most customer-side solar installations of any state in the nation,” said Michael Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission.

“This is a tremendous milestone for California and a testament to the success of the California Solar Initiative.”

Credit: Go Solar California

According to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the initiative’s rebates will decrease over time to facilitate a self-sustaining solar industry. Although now rebates are 92 percent lower than they were at the start of the program in most parts of the state, participation in the program still increases each year.

“The robust response to the program, even as the rebates continue to shrink as planned, shows that solar can stand on its own,” said Denny Boyles of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).

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