Really, Los Angeles. You ought to be embarrassed. There you are, a sprawling, sun-drenched world metropolis with nearly 3.8 million residents. And yet you allow San Diego, barely a third your size with a population of 1.3 million, to beat you in solar power?
That’s the word from the Environment California Research & Policy Center, which said in a new report that San Diego has both more solar installations and more installed solar capacity than any city in California. And since California is so far ahead of the rest of the nation when it comes to turning sunlight into energy, the organization went ahead and crowned San Diego “America’s solar city.”
The Environment California report [PDF] counted all the grid-connected solar electric systems that are on or near buildings in the state. Utility-scale power plants weren’t included. And data was compiled through August 2011. At that time, San Diego had 37 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity to 36 MW for Los Angeles, and 4,507 installations compared to LA’s 4,018. What accounts for all that solar in San Diego?
“San Diego is home to the only general-market California solar rebate program administered by a non-profit organization, the California Center for Sustainable Energy, in concert with the local utility, San Diego Gas & Electric,” Environment California explained. “This program has been particularly effective in driving solar power into the residential market. Confirmed projects in its service territory add up to almost two-thirds of its residential goal under the (state’s) Million Solar Roofs Initiative—ahead of programs in the service territories of both Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric.”