California Launches Solar Website for New Home Construction

The California Energy Commission launched a new website encouraging installations of solar energy in new residential home construction. The New Solar Homes Partnership website is in response to the Governor’s Million Solar Roofs Initiative to create 3,000 megawatts (MW) of solar electricity in the state by the end of 2017.

“Solar electricity is an environmentally friendly energy source that will be a significant part of California’s future energy supply,” said Commissioner Jackalyne Pfannenstiel. “The Energy Commission’s goal is to have reliable and current information available in one place for consumers and homebuilders.” Beginning January 1, 2007, the California Energy Commission will manage a program of about $400 million, complementing the program approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The Energy Commission will work with homebuilders and the building industry to accelerate the growth of photovoltaics (PV) in new home subdivisions, whereas the CPUC will focus on solar installations on existing residential and commercial buildings. A portion of the program funds will be allocated to special incentives for low-income and affordable housing. During 2006, residential and small businesses planning to install PV systems less than 30 kilowatts (kW) in size can continue to qualify for rebate incentives under the Energy Commission’s Emerging Renewables Program. Currently, the rebate is $2.80 per installed watt. The new website will offer information for both the existing rebate program, and for the new partnership. The website provides search capabilities with solar information for existing homes, new homes, production homebuilders, schools, government buildings, commercial buildings, apartments and affordable housing. The average household in California uses about 6,500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year; a PV system in the 3 kW to 4 kW range would be adequate to meet most electricity needs. As of April 2006, California has more than 17,300 grid-connected PV systems installed in California, representing 136 MW of power. The CPUC and the Energy Commission plan to accelerate California’s renewable energy goal of 20 percent procured renewable power by 2010. The California Energy Commission’s new website can be viewed at the link below.
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