When it comes to solar, California leads the nation, with installations increasing by 166 percent this year.
That’s the prediction shared by IHS iSuppli at this year’s Intersolar North America conference, held annually at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. According to the report, California will reach 1.2 gigawatts in 2012, more than the combined total of the next six states in the rankings.
Perhaps even more impressively, California is home to almost half of the nation’s total 2,100 megawatts of photovoltaic (PV) systems. Of California’s nearly 100,000 PV systems, 90 percent are residential solar systems.
California Solar Rebates By City
Beginning in 2007, the California Solar Initiative shifted the focus from statewide rebates for existing homes to incentives provided through the state’s individual utilities. The new program rebates vary from utility to utility, and the size, performance and installation costs of a residential system can also influence the amount of rebate you will receive.
For pricing on a solar system in your area, click here.
Utility rebates are awarded on a per-watt basis. The utility rebate program is set up in “steps,” based on the number of installations in each utility territory. As more of your neighbors go solar, the amount of rebates per-watt is gradually reduced, or stepped down. So, the sooner you put up panels, the cheaper your costs will be.
As installations are more prevalent in some areas of the state than others, the amount that Californians can receive in rebate checks varies statewide. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) operates within the largest utility area in California, generally covering areas north of Santa Barbara and Fresno. PG&E is now in the ninth step of the 10-step program, offering $.25 per watt rebates.
Southern California Edison (SCE) is in the seventh step, offering $.65 per watt. SCE covers most of Southern California, excluding San Diego County and Imperial County. The San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) company is currently in step nine, offering $.25 per watt.
Some Californian residents get their electrical power through municipalities. Many cities now offer their own rebate programs, often more generous than the state program.
Beginning in 2012, a new program will be offered by Anaheim Public Utility that will pay $3.72 per watt, an incredible deal for Southern Californians.
Top 10 California Cities for Solar Power
The solar industry group PV Solar Report recently ranked 10 California cities as the best for solar energy systems:
- San Jose
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- Simi Valley
- Santa Rosa
Environment California, an environmental advocacy organization, has several top 10 solar lists, including one that ranks cities according to installation per household. That top 10 includes smaller cities like Nevada City, Sebastopol, Trinidad, Portola Valley, Los Altos Hills and Ojai, proving that even smaller communities can make a big impact by going solar.