California Soars to New Home Solar Installers High, Record Installs

California solar installers set a state record in 2010 by installing more home generating capacity than in any other year in the state’s history, according to the California Public Utilities Commission. The state is on pace for another record-setting year of solar installations this year, according to a CPUC report issued Tuesday, which provides an annual assessment of the California Solar Initiative, a program authorized in 2006 by Senate Bill 1. SB 1 set a goal for the state’s utilities to create 3,000 megawatts of new, home and utility solar-produced electricity by 2016. The solar installation program aims to help move California toward a cleaner energy future and lower the cost of solar systems for consumers. According to the annual assessment: Californian solar installers built 194 megawatts of solar electric generating equipment in 2010, an increase of 47 percent over the capacity installed in 2009 leaving all other state records forever broken. The solar systems installed last year provide power to 19,877 homes, businesses, nonprofits and government agencies statewide. The state received home and commercial solar installation applications for projects totaling 425 megawatts last year, or more than twice the capacity of applications received in any previous year of the program. The solar installation program is achieving its goal of reducing the cost of solar equipment. For systems smaller than 10 kilowatts, inflation adjusted prices have declined 18 percent to $8.55 a watt. For systems larger than 10 kilowatts, prices are down 27 percent to $6.71 a watt. In its first year last year, California Public Utilities Commission solar thermal program received applications for $2 million in home thermal solar installers rebates for 275 projects. In total, 924 megawatts at 94,891 individual sites have been installed in California through the first quarter of this year through a variety of state and local incentive programs dating back to the 1990s. Source: Sacramento Business Journal, Melanie Turner