Los Gatos, California [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Solar electric system installer Akeena Solar and Kyocera Solar, a photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer, have teamed up to give away a $25,000 solar PV system at the South Bay Home and Garden Show, taking place this weekend at the Santa Clara Convention Center in San Jose, California, January 7-9th.The prize will be comprised of Kyocera solar panels and Akeena installation services equivalent to USD $25,000 of product, service, and energy rebates. Winners will be announced on each day of the show, culminating in a grand prize drawing for the selected finalists at 3:00 pm on Sunday, January 9th. To become eligible for the prize, entrants must live within 75 miles of the show, live in a qualifying utility district and have available un-shaded roof space. No purchase is required to enter the giveaway. The Akeena-Kyocera giveaway is partially in support of Governor Schwarzenegger’s Million Solar Roofs Initiative, which targets the installation of one million solar electric systems in California by 2015. The initiative failed to pass last year’s legislative sessions but is likely to come up again in the next legislative session. While the governor couldn’t pass his solar homes initiative last year, he did sign into law an improved Solar Rights Act (AB 2473), authored by California State Assemblywoman Lois Wolk in the 8th Assembly District. The key improvements made to the new Solar Rights Act minimize aesthetic solar restrictions to those that cost less than $2,000. In addition, the act limits building official’s review of solar installations only to those items that relate to specific health and safety requirements of local, state and federal law. The strengthened law hits close to home for Akeena solar. “Based on my understanding, Los Gatos is modifying their permit review of solar installations in the Town to be consistent with AB 2473,” said Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Akeena Solar. “So if someone from Los Gatos wins the $25,000 giveaway I am confident that the winner will be running their electric meter backwards in record time.” Cinnamon’s company was embroiled in a prior disagreement with the town of Los Gatos, which had sided against allowing a permit for a solar PV system on Akeena’s Los Gatos headquarters (see related story at the link below). The giveaway also arrives at a time when many California residents and businesses are increasingly recognizing the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy. By the end of 2004 there were fewer than 20,000 solar electric systems in California,” said Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Akeena Solar. “It will take a real concerted effort to get to one million systems in ten years. Luckily, our state has the political will – as well as the energy and environmental necessity – to achieve this goal.” Kyocera Solar has been ramping up production to meet demand in California. Production of PV modules began at their new Tijuana plant in November, targeting California’s fast-growing market for commercial and residential solar PV systems. During 2005, the facility is expected to reach an annual production capacity of 36 MW of PV modules — enough to provide a 3.5 kW PV system for more than 10,000 homes each year.