Photo via Zimbio
California has been a leading light for solar power for quite some time--but now it's leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the nation. Over the last ten years, the number of solar power installations in the Golden State have grown from 500 to 50,000. It now accounts for a whopping two thirds of the solar power capacity of the entire US. And it's still growing.From the New York Times:
As a result, California, the longtime national leader in solar energy, has a capacity of more than 500 megawatts of solar power at peak periods in the early afternoon — the same as a major power plant.And much of that capacity sprung up essentially overnight, thanks to enticing, effective state subsidies.
The solar capacity in California grew by a third from 2007 to 2008. It now represents about two-thirds of the national total, according to a different report that is being prepared by the Interstate Renewable Energy CouncilWhich makes it the de facto pace-setter for solar power for the country. Solar has caught on and spread faster through California than any other state:
Within California, solar technology has spread beyond highly environmentally conscious areas like San Francisco and Sacramento over the last decade to gain a hold throughout the state, Environment California’s report indicates. As of the end of 2008, when the report’s figures were compiled, San Diego had more than 19 megawatts in capacity from installations on 2,200 roofs, followed by San Jose with 15.4 megawatts from 1,330 roofs and Fresno with 14.5 megawatts from 1,028 roofs.Which is a lot of roofs with a lot of solar installations--but still not a whole lot of power. It all accounts for around 0.25% of California's total energy needs. And considering a rooftop installation costs some $20,000, it's still not exactly the most cost effective energy option on the block. But it's getting there. And in the US at least, California's leading the way.
More on California and Solar Power:
Solar Powered Hindu Temple in California to Open Summer 2008
California Wineries Switch to Solar Power