Some time in 2015, the California solar industry will reach 10 GW of total installed capacity.
This represents a historic milestone – not just for the state – but for the entire country. The United States has about 20 GW of total solar capacity across the nation. And California represents roughly 50% of that. We’re talking about enough clean sunshine to power 2.5 million businesses and homes.
Gov. Brown puts this remarkable achievement in perspective by stating that, “California has 10 times more installed solar capacity than the entire nation had in 2007.”
A Quick Breakdown of California’s Solar Capacity
At present (March 20), California has 9.977 GW of solar installed – only 615 MW of which is residential. The overwhelming majority of this capacity is utility-scale PV power.
Some of the biggest installations include:
However, the number of new large-scale installations is on the general decline – mainly due to cost and environmental concerns. In order to develop mega solar farms, huge tracts of ecologically fragile land must be cleared. Habitats are destroyed, and species are endangered as a result.
By contrast, smaller residential and commercial solar installations are on the rise – especially as PV panel prices continue to plummet year after year. In Southern California alone, nearly 25% of all new homes already come equipped with solar technology. And according to a new report by Nature, California could cover 300% of its electricity needs simply by installing panels on already developed areas of the state.
According to Rebecca Hernandez of Stanford University,
“Our results show we do not need to trade places of environmental value to produce renewable energy as ample land and space exists elsewhere. Additionally, developing renewable power generation in places close to where it is consumed reduces costs and loss of electricity associated with transmission.”
In other words, the days of mega solar farms in the middle of nowhere are on the decline. And distribute its solar power will become the norm in California.
California Solar Industry’s Future Begins with You
10 GW is nothing short of phenomenal. And there’s no reason why we can’t reach 20 GW, 30 GW, or more over the next several years.
Some of this new capacity will still come from mega solar projects. But a growing percentage of California’s solar power will come from smaller, individual installations on residential rooftops across the state.
Discover how a simple 5 kW solar installation on your own home can dramatically reduce your electricity bill and shrink your carbon footprint to zero.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation solar quote.