Solar in California Going Mainstream

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New Report Ranks California Cities for Quantity of Solar Power, Shows Central Valley Cities Competitive with Large Coastal Cities

Environment California

From Santa Cruz to the Central Valley and from Trinidad to San Diego, solar power is taking hold throughout California as documented in the latest Environment California Research & Policy Center report, California’s Solar Cities: Leading the Way to a Clean Energy Future.
“From farms to firehouses, the face of solar power is changing,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, clean energy advocate with Environment California Research & Policy Center and author of the report.  “Thanks to government support and a growing appetite among consumers for clean energy, solar power is going through the roof statewide.”

The report, California’s Solar Cities: Leading the Way to a Clean Energy Future, is the first-ever study of the amount of solar power installed in California on a city by city basis. The report found that San Diego leads the pack with 2,262 solar roofs totaling nearly 20 megawatts of solar power. Other top ten solar cities include:  Los Angeles with 1,388 solar roofs totaling 13 megawatts, San Francisco with 1,350 solar roofs totaling 7 megawatts, San Jose with 1,333 solar roofs totaling 15 megawatts, Fresno with 1,028 solar roofs totaling 14.5 megawatts, Bakersfield with 751 solar roofs totaling 7 megawatts, and the cities of Clovis, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, Berkeley, Chico, and Napa all making the top ten list for either numbers of solar roofs installed or amount of solar power generating capacity installed.
The report also looked at the amount of solar power installed on a per capita basis and found diversity within this type of analysis as well. When population is taken into account, Nevada City tops the list in terms of number of solar roofs installed with nearly one in every five households, statistically speaking, hosting a solar system. The City of Industry tops the other top ten list for the amount of solar power capacity installed on a per capita basis with 1.5 kilowatts installed per person. Other leading small cities include Sebastopol, Trinidad, Portola Valley, Ojai, Point Arena, Grass Valley, Sonoma, Plymouth, Lincoln, Los Altos Hills, Auburn, Lakeport, St. Helena, and Oroville.
Solar power is more affordable today than ever before thanks to state rebates per the Million Solar Roofs Initiative, federal tax credits and other incentives designed to encourage residents and businesses to invest in solar power. As a result, California’s solar market is growing rapidly as also shown in the report. Just ten years ago, there were an estimated 500 solar roofs in California. Today, there are nearly 50,000 statewide. In the past three years, California’s solar market has more than doubled. 
“Thanks to government programs driving increased demand, the price of solar is on the decline helping make it more affordable for everyday people and businesses,” said Del Chiaro. “With the help of continued government support, we can meet and go well beyond our million solar roofs goal.”

For more information about solar rebates and tips on going solar, or to review the entire Solar Cities report, visit