California’s groundbreaking efforts to encourage homeowners and businesses to install rooftop solar panels were so successful in 2012 that the program is now effectively winding down, according to a new report.
A record 391 megawatts of solar power were installed statewide in 2012, a growth of 26 percent from 2011, according to a report by the California Solar Initiative released Wednesday.
“The program has made solar affordable for ordinary Californians,” said Susannah Churchill of the San Francisco-based solar advocacy group Vote Solar. “Solar is a classic California success story.”
In January 2007, California launched an unprecedented $3.3 billion effort to install 3,000 megawatts of new solar over
the next decade and transform the market for solar energy by reducing the cost of solar-generating equipment.
One megawatt is enough to power 750 to 1,000 homes. But because the sun doesn’t shine all the time, solar industry experts say that one megawatt of solar can power about 200 households.
The California Public Utilities Commission’s California Solar Initiative, known as CSI,provides rebates for residential and commercial customers of the state’s three large, investor-owned utilities: Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric.
The initiative’s road map calls for 1,750 new megawatts of solar power to be installed on residential and commercial roofs in the state by