CPUC: California Doubled PV Installations in 2008

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a quarterly staff progress report on the California Solar Initiative, showing that in 2008 Californians installed twice as many megawatts (MW) of solar power than the year before, and that demand for new solar projects continues to hit record levels.

“Our staff report outlines the great strides we have made with solar power in California and demonstrates the commitment the state and its consumers have to clean energy,” said CPUC President Michael R. Peevey. “Californians can be proud of the state’s leadership role in reducing dependence on fossil fuels through investment in and adoption of environmentally sustainable generating technologies.”

According to the CPUC’s January Staff Progress Report on the California Solar Initiative, homeowners, businesses and governments in California’s Investor-Owned Utility (IOU) territories installed 158 megawatts (MW) of distributed solar photovoltaics (PV) in 2008, doubling the 78 MW installed in IOU territories in 2007. That gives the state a cumulative total of 441 MW of distributed solar PV systems, the highest level of solar installations in the country.

“The California Solar Initiative continues to reach major milestones,” said CPUC Energy Division Director Julie Fitch. “California is the nation’s largest solar market and its continued growth demonstrates that solar is a viable energy resource that can strengthen California’s economy as we pursue aggressive goals to fight global warming.”

To date, the program has received applications for roughly 322 MW of grid-tied, distributed solar PV projects. The California Solar Initiative now has 18,290 active applications. Of these projects, 11,810 applications are complete, representing 152 MW of capacity that has come online in 2007 and 2008 under the program.

The amount of solar installed under the California Solar Initiative varies by utility territory and customer type, residential and non-residential:

  • Pacific Gas and Electric: 33 MW of residential and 45 MW of non-residential projects; 19 MW of residential and 89 MW of non-residential projects pending installation.
  • Southern California Edison: 13 MW of residential and 49 MW of non-residential projects; 7 MW of residential and 35 MW of non-residential projects pending installation.
  • San Diego Gas and Electric: 4 MW of residential projects and 3 MW of non-residential projects; 8 MW of residential and 18 MW of non-residential projects pending installation.

“Our vision of solar panels lining the rooftops of houses and businesses across California is becoming a reality. Today’s report showing that solar  installations doubled last year proves that. I’m encouraged to see that even in these difficult financial times we are breaking solar installation records and spurring private investment in solar projects. This program is helping to make solar power possible for hundreds of thousands of Californians-saving people money on their electricity bills while helping us meet our long-term renewable energy and climate change goals,” California Governor Arnold  Schwarzenegger said.

The Governor talked about his goals for solar and renewable energy in depth last fall at Solar Power International. To hear what he had to say, play the video below.

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