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 1566 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in California, employing 43,700.
- In 2012, California installed 1045 MW of solar electric capacity, ranking it 1st nationally. See more solar state rankings.
- The 3,322 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 717,600 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 fell by 19% last year. National prices have also dropped steadily— by 13% from last year and 34% from 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
- California Valley Solar Ranch was completed in 2012 by developer SunPower. This photovoltaic project has the capacity to generate 130 MW of electricity-- enough to power over 28,100 California homes. An additional 120 MW are on schedule to be completed later this year.
- Another utility-scale project, Ivanpah in Barstow, is currently under construction in California and is scheduled to come online in 2013. Developed by BrightSource, this 392 MW concentrating solar power project will generate enough electricity to power 140,000 homes.
- At 66 MW, Alpine Solar Project in Lancaster is among the largest solar installations in California. Completed in 2013 by First Solar, this photovoltaic project has enough electric capacity to power over 14,300 homes.
See our solar installations maps.
Solar Companies in California
- There are currently more than 1566 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: 340 manufacturers, 110 manufacturing facilities, 762 contractor/installers, 99 project developers, 96 distributors and 269 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