California continues to be the leading solar market in the United States. A plethora of sunny days combined with supportive solar policies have created an ideal solar market. As older fossil-fired and nuclear generation plants (such as SONGS) come offline, statewide carbon reduction efforts escalate, and load growth increases (due, in part, to the anticipated increased deployment of electric vehicles), additional renewable energy procurement will be required within California. These factors, as well as changing consumer behaviors related to electricity production and delivery, offer substantial opportunities to continue to grow the solar energy market in California.
Facts on the California Solar Industry
• Solar Installed: 19,671.1 MW (5,211.7 MW in 2016)1
• National Ranking: 1st (1st in 2016)
• State Homes Powered by Solar: 5,079,000
• Percentage of State’s Electricity from Solar: 14.02%2
• Solar Jobs and Ranking: 100,050 (1st in 2016)3
• Solar Companies in State: 2,639 companies total; 456 Manufacturers, 1,264 Installers/Developers, 879 Others4
• Total Solar Investment in State: $51,534.41 million ($8,451.10 million in 2016)
• Price Declines: 55% over last 5 years
• Growth Projections and Ranking: 14,270 MW over next 5 years (ranks 1st)
View more solar industry data.
SEIA California State Solar Policy Priorities
Secure solar-friendly and solar-plus-storage-friendly rate designs by establishing workable time of use rates and avoiding fixed charges and residential demand charges.
Support policies to integrate high penetrations of solar and other distributed energy resources, such as storage, on the distribution and transmission system.
Develop a robust cost effectiveness framework to ensure solar’s benefits are fully captured in advance of the Commission’s re-evaluation of net metering in 2019.
Maximize the opportunities for solar and associated technologies, such as storage, to be integrated into utility distribution system planning and operations to create to revenue opportunities for solar, ease interconnection, and avoid unnecessary utility cost.
Ensure the Integrated Resources Planning process maximizes solar deployment, both utility scale and distributed.
Expand access to solar by establishing offsite solar opportunities and shared solar programs.
Notable Solar Installations in California
- Topaz Solar Farm was completed in 2014. This photovoltaic project has the capacity to generate 550 MW of electricity -- enough to power over 142,000 California homes.5
- Several large retailers in California have gone solar including AER Worldwide, Agilent Technologies and Airdrome Orchards. Prologis has installed one of the largest such installations with 8 MW of solar capacity at their location in Rialto.6
See our solar installations maps.
Solar Companies in California
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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
EnergySage Solar Data Explorer – California – Review the costs and benefits of installing solar panels in California, based on real price data from solar quotes.
1All data from SEIA/GTM Research U.S. Solar Market Insight unless otherwise noted: http://www.seia.org/research-resources/us-solar-market-insight
2Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly: http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/#generation
3The Solar Foundation, State Solar Jobs Census: http://www.thesolarfoundation.org/solar-jobs-census/states/
4SEIA, National Solar Database: http://www.seia.org/research-resources/national-solar-database
5SEIA, Major Solar Projects List: http://www.seia.org/research-resources/major-solar-projects-list