Why San Diego’s Solar Industry Is So Darn Lucky
If you follow this blog regularly, you already know that San Diego’s solar industry is constantly under assault.

We have a whole slew of green incentives that could disappear at any moment:

  • Solar rebates almost died off completely before receiving a $5 million extension earlier this year
  • Net metering is a highly successful program that utility companies are eager to get rid of
  • Who knows what the future holds for on-site solar battery storage.  This technology is under threat even as we speak

We hope that all of San Diego’s solar incentives last for the foreseeable future.  They’re incredibly important for growing California’s renewable energy industry.  And each time utility companies try to kill off certain programs, we organize and fight back.

But as bad as these constant assaults are – we’re thankful that such debates are even possible.

Not every region of the world is so lucky.

China, Pollution, and Solar Energy

Over the past few months, we’ve followed a fascinating and disturbing trend in China.  The air quality in places like Beijing, Shanghai, and Nanjing has consistently reached hazardous levels – as in, don’t go outside because you can’t see more than a few meters.

In Nanjing, for example, the air quality was so bad during the first week of December that the government shut down school for a few days.  And earlier this fall, the smog was so bad in Beijing that pilots couldn’t land or take off.

That’s pretty amazing when you think about it.

What’s even more amazing is that China could easily become a solar powerhouse if it wanted to:

  • After all, China already has some of the cheapest solar panels in the world (because they’re manufactured within the country)
  • And many parts of China actually receive more direct sunlight than San Diego does.  It’s strange but true.

So why does the Middle Kingdom still lag behind San Diego in per capita solar installations?  Why does China have some of the worst air in the world while California’s keeps improving?

There are many explanations of course.  China has more people (roughly 1.3 billion).  And it’s also the world’s manufacturing hub.  With that many factories, it’s hard to maintain clean air.

But one of the most important reasons comes down to incentives.  The US (and more specifically California) encourages renewable energy adoption on a massive scale.  China, by contrast, is relatively indifferent when it comes to green policies and solar incentives.

The US is lucky.  California is lucky.  San Diego is really really lucky.

San Diego’s Solar Industry – 5 or 10 Years from Now?

It’s worth noting that these solar incentives won’t be around forever.  As already mentioned, net metering and solar rebates are constantly under attack in sunny San Diego.

Who knows if these programs will be around in 5 or 10 years?

But they’re here now.  And you should take advantage of them before they expire.  In 10 years, you might not be this lucky.