The Environment California Research & Policy Center says California’s Million Solar Roofs Initiative is on track to meet its goal of installing 3 gigawatts (GW) of distributed solar energy capacity by 2016. As the group’s new report, Building a Brighter Future: California’s Progress Toward a Million Solar Roofs [PDF], went to press, California was approaching the milestone of installing more than 1 GW of rooftop solar power across the state – something only five other countries in the world have achieved.
Back in 2006, California’s Million Solar Roofs law established the Go Solar California campaign, a 10-year statewide effort providing funding for the installation of rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems on homes, commercial businesses, farms and government and nonprofit buildings. Since then, California’s solar market has been expanding by about 40 percent per year. And after five years, the program is one-quarter of the way toward fulfilling its goal. If the market continues growing, even at a tempered rate of 25 percent per year, the state will reach the 3-GW mark by the end of 2016.
Environment California stresses, however, that meeting the program’s overall goal will require consistent and strong policy support for solar energy. The organization and its allies are advocating for bold policy initiatives including a statewide feed-in-tariff program, a lift of the cap on net metering, and a mandate that all new homes come equipped with solar systems.
“California can become the Saudi Arabia of the sun if it continues to get behind big, successful solar programs,” said Michelle Kinman, Clean Energy Advocate with Environment California Research & Policy Center and co-author of the report. “All signs point to a bright future for solar power in California, meaning cleaner air, cleaner energy, and more jobs.”
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