California continues to be a leading solar market in the United States. A plethora of sunny days combined with supportive solar policies have created an ideal solar market. Each market segment—utility-scale, residential and commercial—can boast a number of beneficial programs and incentives.
Facts on the California Solar Industry
- There are currently more than 1584 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in California, employing 43,700.
- 473 MW of solar were installed in California in the fourth quarter of 2012. This marks a 144% increase over the last quarter and a 155% increase over the same quarter last year. California ranked 1st nationally in Q4 installations. See more solar state rankings.
- In 2012, California installed 1,033 MW of solar electric capacity, ranking it 1st nationally.
- The 2902 MW of solar energy currently installed in California ranks the state 1st in the country in installed solar capacity. There is enough solar energy installed in the state to power 626,000 homes.
- In 2012, $2.6 billion was invested in California to install solar on homes and businesses. This represents a 31% increase over the previous year, and is expected to grow again this year.
- Average installed residential and commercial photovoltaic system prices in California continue to fall--by 14% from last year. National prices have also dropped steadily--by 14% from last year and 31% since 2010.
View more solar industry data.
SEIA Califorinia State Solar Policy Priorities
- Encourage policies promoting robust penetration of distributed generation to help meet the Governor’s 12 GW goal.
- Continue to improve and streamline the distributed generation interconnection process.
- Provide access to solar energy to ratepayers who otherwise would not have had such access, such as apartment tenants and low‐income customers.
- Develop and shape a favorable long‐term framework for net energy metering.
Notable Solar Installations in California
- Topaz Solar Farm in Carrisa Plains is currently under construction and expected to come online in 2014. Once completed, this 550 MW photovoltaic project will power 160,000 homes. Topaz Solar Farm will create $417 million in positive impacts, including property and sales tax revenues for the county, wages from direct and indirect employment and induced spending and supply chain revenues.
- Ivanpah in Barstow is expected to come online in 2013. Once all three phases are complete, this 392 MW concentrating solar power project will power close to 140,000 homes. Ivanpah is being developed by BrightSource Energy and was recently purchased by NRG Energy. Google is also a significant equity investor in the project, with an investment of $168 million.
- FSE Blythe came online in 2009 in Blythe. The 21 MW photovoltaic project created 175 jobs during construction.
See our solar installations maps.
Solar Companies in California
- There are currently more than 1584 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in California. These companies provide a wide variety of solar products and services ranging from solar system installations to the manufacturing of components used in photovoltaic panels. These companies can be broken down across the following categories: 321 manufacturers, 95 manufacturing facilities, 744 contractor/installers, 85 project developers, 96 distributors and 341 engaged in other solar activities including financing, engineering and legal support.
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California State Solar Policy Resources
California Public Utilities Commission – Learn about the governing body that regulates the electricity rates and services of California public utilities
California Solar Initiative – Read information on the solar rebate program for customers of California's investor-owned utilities
California State Energy Commission – Find a wide variety of information on state government energy programs, policy, projects, energy-saving strategies and energy-related statistics
California State Legislature – Track pending legislation affecting solar energy, locate and contact individual legislators, and stay up to date on current legislative issues in California
DSIRE Incentives Database - California – Search a public clearinghouse for specific solar energy incentives in California and across the United States
U.S. Energy Information Administration - California State Profile – Explore official energy statistics, including data on electricity supply and demand, from the U.S. government