Solar’s Explosive Growth in California
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
- There are currently more than 1,889 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in California, employing 47,223 people.
- In 2013, California installed 2,746 MW of solar electric capacity, ranking it 1st nationally.
- The 7,808 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 1,897,300 homes.
- In 2013, $7.1 billion was invested in California to install solar for home, business and utility use. This represents a 83% increase over the previous year, and is expected to grow again this year.
- Average installed residential and commercial photovoltaic system prices in California have fallen by 10% in the last year. National prices have also dropped steadily — by 8% from last year and 39% from 2010
2014 Legislative Update
Solar Property Tax Exclusion Extended
In July, Governor Brown signed SB 871 which extends the existing solar property tax exclusion until January 1, 2025. The continuation of this policy will allow homeowners and businesses to install solar energy without a reassessment of their property taxes. In addition, extension of the exclusion will enable California utilities to achieve their renewable energy targets at a lower cost to ratepayers.