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Solar Facts

This new kids' page will be coming soon. In the meantime, read below about the exciting things happening with solar energy in California.

Also, please read Chapter 15 in "The Energy Story" that will tell you all about solar energy.

California Sets Goal to Develop 3,000 Megawatts of Solar Power!

As stated on the Go Solar California website, Senate Bill 1 (Murray, Chapter 132, Statutes of 2006) set the following goals for installed self-generation photovoltaic systems:

  • 3,000 megawatts of solar energy systems on new and existing residential and commercial sites by 2017, and
  • placing solar energy systems on 50 percent of new homes by 2020.

There are three parts to the 3,000 MW goal:

  1. 1,940 MW for IOUs (Investor Owned Utilities) for commercial buildings and existing homes (including low-income programs) as part of the California Solar Initiative.
  2. 700 MW for the POUs (Publicly Owned Utilities).
  3. 360 MW for IOUs for the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP).

As of March 2014, the California Solar Initiative program, provided incentives for nearly 1,480 MW of installed capacity and reserved funding for more than 250 MW of pending capacity toward achieving the goal of 1,940 MW for commercial buildings and existing residential buildings in IOU service territories.

Based on annual SB 1 reports submitted to the Energy Commission in 2012, POUs have installed nearly 160 MW toward the 700 MW goal.

As of March 2014, the NSHP had more than 36 MW of installed capacity and an additional 47 MW of capacity pending (40 MW of which received a funding reservation) toward the program goal of 360 MW.

As the market recovers from the housing crisis of the past few years, builders and homeowners are submitting applications at a faster pace to reserve NSHP funding for their projects. NSHP funding reserved for new home construction projects has increased from a low of about $18.3 million in 2009 to almost $47 million in 2012.

A key component of transforming California’s commercial and residential solar markets is the continued decline in prices of photovoltaic systems. From 1998 to 2012, installed system costs have declined from $12 per watt to under $6 per watt.

Median installed system costs, in 2013, continued this downward trend. Median prices reported to the California Solar Initiative program were $5 per watt in 2013.

Analysts at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative expect photovoltaic system prices to continue to decline.

(Information from "Tracking Progress" on the main California Energy Commission website)

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Page updated: May 2, 2014
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