Solar is Thriving
According to a report by Environment California. California’s solar market is thriving. Ten years ago, solar panels atop roofs were a rarity. Today, solar is taking hold in cities across California, from coastal metropolises such as San Francisco, to agricultural and industrial hubs in the Central Valley. In the past two years alone, the solar industry has installed more than doubled the amount of solar generation.
Solar energy makes sense for California. Each new solar panel helps to clean our air, fight global warming, improve the reliability of our electricity grid, boost the economy, and create much-needed jobs.
California has just begun to tap into the vast potential of solar energy. Governments, utilities and the public should continue to work together toward a clean energy future.
Solar cities are the heart of California’s thriving solar market.
- San Diego leads all California cities in terms of the number of solar installations on residential, commercial and government buildings, with more than 4,500 projects installed. San Diego also leads the state in terms of overall solar generation capacity, with nearly 37 megawatts (MW). 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 the entire nation of Mexico.
- Los Angeles ranks second, with more than 4,000 solar installations adding up to more than 36 MW of power generation capacity.
- San Jose ranks third, with more than 2,700 solar installations and 31 MW of solar electric generation capacity.
- In addition, Oakland, Fresno, Bakersfield, Santa Rosa, Roseville, Clovis and San Francisco all have more than 1,000 solar installations. In terms of generation capacity, Fresno, San Francisco, Bakersfield, Sacramento, and Santa Rosa all have more than 10 MW installed.
California’s solar market is geographically diverse. Solar installations are taking hold from coastal urban centers to mountain communities to towns in the Central Valley.
- Among cities with at least 50,000 residents, Santa Cruz, Clovis, Rocklin, Davis, Watsonville, and Roseville have the most solar installations per resident. Chico, Woodland, Rancho Cordova, Livermore, and Petaluma have the most solar generation capacity per resident.
- Among large towns, with between 10,000 and 50,000 residents, Sonoma (Sonoma County), Grass Valley (Nevada County) and Auburn (Placer County) have the most solar installations per resident. Sonoma, Auburn and Oroville (Butte County) lead in terms of solar capacity per resident.
- Solar has reached its greatest penetration per capita in the northern Bay Area, the Sierra foothills, and the Central Valley. The small towns of Sebastopol (Sonoma County), Newcastle (Placer County), and Nevada City (Nevada County) lead the state in terms of number of solar installations per resident. Herald (Sacramento County), Edwards Air Force Base (Kern County), and Lebec (Kern County) lead the state in terms of solar capacity per capita.
Despite the development of thriving solar markets in cities across the state, California has only just begun to capture its tremendous potential for solar power.
- The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that the state could host more than 80,000 MW of rooftop solar in total – enough to generate more than a third as much electricity as California uses in a year.
- California has installed more than 1,000 MW of solar capacity on residential and commercial rooftops. Despite this substantial progress, vast potential remains to be developed.