Topping the list again in 2011 with 4,500 installations
San Diego ranks first among California cities for use of solar energy again this year, with the most systems installed and the greatest generation capacity, according to a report issued by the Sacramento-based Environment California Research & Policy Center on Tuesday, Jan. 24, at a press conference held at Point Loma Nazarene University.
With 4,500 rooftop installations generating nearly 37 megawatts ( MW) of electricity, San Diego’s solar panels produce more than $9 million worth of power annually. The report states that if San Diego were a nation unto itself, it would rank among the top 25 nations in the world in terms of solar capacity, with more solar power than Mexico.
At the press conference, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders said that San Diego becoming the No. 1 solar city was the result of programs that encourage investment in solar power, citing CCSE as a local leader. Michelle Kinman of Environment California said that the city is leading the nation in transitioning to a clean energy future, declaring, “San Diego is America’s solar city.”
The report notes that the California Solar Initiative, administered by CCSE in concert with SDG&E, has been particularly effective in driving solar power into the residential market. Confirmed projects in San Diego add up to almost two-thirds of the service territory’s residential goal under the Million Solar Roofs Initiative – ahead of programs in the service territories of both Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric.
“San Diego’s No. 1 solar status is the result of innovative state and local policies aimed at growing the solar industry, such as the California Solar Initiative, which has provided clear, well-designed support for solar,” said Andrew McAllister, CCSE’s director of policy and strategy, at the press conference. “The collaboration, entrepreneurship and vision that underpin San Diego’s solar success are fundamental for scaling up solar adoption statewide in the next few years. We still have many more rooftops to reach.”
“I am proud of San Diego’s No. 1 ranking in rooftop solar two years in a row,” said State Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego). “More solar power means green jobs and a better environment – two wins for our region.”
Los Angeles came in second place, with more than 36 MW of solar generation capacity. San Jose ranks third, with solar installations totaling 31 MW. In addition, Fresno, San Francisco, Bakersfield, Sacramento and Santa Rosa all have more than 10 MW installed.
In 2000, California had fewer than 1,000 rooftop solar systems, with less than 10 MW of total electric generation capacity. In 2011, California passed the milestone of 1,000 MW of installed solar capacity, with more than 100,000 separate installations
Environment California and its partners are advocating that local and state leaders continue to push big, bold policy initiatives to continue expansion of solar. Key steps advocated by Environment California include:
- Preserving Net Metering – the ability for a homeowner or business to receive a solar credit on their electric bill to offset electricity usage during the night.
- Adopting a strong feed-in-tariff program that would enable owners of warehouses and parking lots to generate wholesale solar electricity.
- Mandating that all new buildings be equipped with solar systems.
You can read and download the entire report, California’s Solar Cities 2012: Leaders in the Race to a Clean Energy Future, at the Environment California website by clicking here.
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