California is continuing its march toward a renewable energy future. New statistics show how the growth of the solar industry has accelerated and shows little sign of slowing down for the rest of the year.
The Golden State added a record-breaking 521 megawatts (MW) of solar generating capacity from April to June of this year. This was an all-time high for any state over a three month period, and made up 53 percent of the total amount added by the nation during the same time frame.
The growth in California was fueled, in part, by the completion of large-scale projects such as the California Valley Solar Ranch near San Luis Obispo. The other 41 percent came from residential and commercial solar arrays on rooftops and private property.
After California, the next four states to add the most solar energy installations were North Carolina, New Jersey, Arizona and Texas. Many solar experts speculate that the increase in solar expansion is related to favorable state policies and more progressive energy policies.
California, in particular, has made aggressive efforts to reduce dependence on fossil fuel sources such as coal and natural gas. Other regions of the country, such as Arizona and New Jersey, have fostered growth of solar in their states with similar laws and incentive programs.
It’s paramount for the solar industry and its customers to continue pursuing legislative efforts at the state and federal level. Programs like Net Energy Metering, rebates for California solar panels, and the Federal Renewable Energy Tax Credit need to be extended and renewed until solar costs become competitive with conventional power in the absence of subsidies.
Unfortunately, utility companies have stepped up their efforts to prevent solar incentive programs from being extended. Mainly because they’re concerned that their profits will decrease and they’ll lose control of the way residents generate and use electricity.
Hopefully, the state legislature can recognize that it is in the best interest of Californians everywhere, whether they have solar energy at home or not, to spur more growth in renewable energy sources. Then, perhaps, California can look forward to leading the nation in megawatts of solar energy installed not just in Q2 of 2013, but for many years to come.