Solar Growth Continues Unabated in Bay Area

The NorCal Solar Energy Association, a nonprofit solar education group in Northern California, released new findings on the growth of solar energy installations for 165 cities in all ten Bay Area counties.

8,403 total solar energy installations — built at a cost of $787 million — are yielding 82.3 megawatts (MW) of electricity, according to the new report that includes all installations as of December 2006.

The average residential sized system, yielding 3.6 kilowatts of electricity costs $34,199, or approximately $9.49 per watt before rebates and tax credits, states the report.

Approximately 11.5 watts of electricity generated by solar power is produced for every one of the 7.1million residents living in the greater Bay Area.

Commenting on the news in the report, Gary Gerber, President of Sun Light and Power in Berkeley and a sponsor of the report said: “This kind of information is vital to a healthy solar industry. We look forward to this data being available in real-time through an online database being built by the California Solar Initiative program managers.”

Claudia Wentworth, President of NorCal, supports the viewpoint that accurate installation information is vital for consumers and continued industry growth.

“Comparative data is a powerful tool for the promotion of solar technology,” said Wentworth, “and this information will help consumers and cities alike to understand the average costs of solar systems. Our goal is to increase awareness and educate the public to drive demand for solar applications. Every solar installation decreases CO2 emissions, the use of fossil fuels, builds the solar industry and is evidence of a successful solar marketplace in California.”

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