Sacramento Claims To Lead the U.S. in PV

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District has passed the 10 megawatt milestone in solar electric installations.

SACRAMENTO, California (US) 2002-02-01 [] SMUD claims that, with 1,000 systems connected, it represents half of all grid-connected PV systems in the U.S. It says interest in alternative energies surged dramatically during the recent energy crisis in the state, and helped SMUD expand its PV Pioneer program faster than expected. The second phase of the program installed 1,200 kW in 220 homes and commercial businesses last year, seven times more than in 2000 with 178 kilowatts installed. SMUD also installed 500 kW in utility applications and 331 kW was supplied to partnering agencies outside the service territory. The growth in solar installations will continue this year, as 2,000 SMUD customers have signed letters of intent to purchase their own net metered systems, ten times more letters of intent than were signed in 2000. The Sacramento utility has tripled its staff and contractors to meet the demand and has joined with local homebuilders to incorporate PV energy roofs in new home subdivisions. Under SMUD’s Solar Advantage Home program, production builders can offer homes that include PV roofs as a standard feature. The feature is available in 15 new home communities in Sacramento and, to date, nine builders have committed to 133 homes generating 275 kW, with 20 of the homes completed in 2001. Demand for solar has also created local job opportunities. The CalSolar PV factory in Sacramento, operated by TerraSolar Inc under license to SMUD’s major PV module supplier Energy Photovoltaics Inc, started production last year. CalSolar employs 42 people and operates two shifts with plans for a third, in order to meet customer demand.
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