In July 2010, the Northern California Solar Energy Association released a report titled “Photovoltaic Installations: San Francisco Bay Area.” This was NorCal Solar’s third report on Bay Area Solar Installations (BASI) since the implementation of the 2007 California Solar Initiative (CSI).
Excerpts from the executive summary of the report say:
The Bay Area continues to be a bright spot for photovoltaics (PV). The Bay Area showed remarkable growth relative to the rest of California, encompassing 61 percent of the state’s new installations and 55 percent of the total megawatts installed in 2009. Although California’s overall rate of PV installations remains strong, it has declined slightly from 2008, due at least in part to the economic downturn impacting California.
This report further underscores that California’s PV industry as a whole presents an optimistic picture and significantly adds to the important growth of renewable energy. California has seen extensive PV market development contributing to the state’s environmental improvement goals, with an outstanding commitment to increased use of solar supported by favorable policies and rebate programs. These promising trends in the solar market are especially evident in Northern California and are in large part due to the financial incentives offered for grid-tied PV systems since 1998.
This 2009 Bay Area Solar Installations (BASI) report follows the industry’s growth in California specifically since 2007, when the state implemented a new incentive program, the California Solar Initiative (CSI), through the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The CSI is a ten-year, $2.2 billion program with the goal of installing 1,940 megawatts of PV on the equivalent of one million rooftops. The CSI has been praised for its size, longevity, and cutting-edge policy goal of establishing a viable PV industry that plays an increasing role in meeting California’s current and future energy needs…
This report uses publicly available solar incentive program data to describe the number of grid-tied PV installations and number of megawatts installed from the inception of the CSI through 12/31/2009 in ten Bay Area counties and 122 cities and unincorporated communities. It presents key facts and emerging trends to illustrate the progress communities throughout the region have made in adopting solar and how the industry may go forward to continue this remarkable growth.
- In 2009, California installed 7,437 PV systems with 4,534 in the Bay Area representing a 25% increase in total number of Bay Area installations. This represents 61% of the total number of systems installed in the state compared to 41% share in 2008.
- California installed 95.7 megawatts of solar with 52.7 megawatts in the Bay Area for 2009 representing 55% of the state total megawatts installed and a 70% growth over the 31 megawatts installed in the Bay Area in 2009.
- Since 2007, the Bay Area shows an 18% average annual growth in the number of installations and a 48% average annual growth in total megawatts.
- In contrast, the state as a whole shows a 5% annual average drop in total number of installations and a 25% average annual increase in total installed megawatts since 2007.
The categories for analyzing PV installations include Total Watts Installed, Number of Systems Installed, Watts/Capita and Systems/Capita both cumulatively over three years (2007-2009) and individually for 2007, 2008, and 2009. The top ten rankings are determined by city size and county, but the report includes a new category showing how smaller communities comprising 2,500 citizens or less have also significantly contributed to the Bay Area’s solar growth.
- In 2009, California installed 95.7 megawatts of solar with about 52.7 megawatts in the Bay Area, representing 55 % of the state’s total and a stunning 70% growth from 2008.
- In 2009, California installed 7,437 systems with 4,534 in the Bay Area, representing 61% of the total installed systems in the state and showing a 25% increase in the number of systems installed from 2008 to 2009.
- Overall since 2007, the Bay Area has seen an average annual growth of 18% in the number of systems and 48% in megawatts installed.
- In 2009, an analysis of installations by sector revealed that 93% of the state’s and Bay Area’s installations were residential and 7% were in the commercial, government, and nonprofit sector.
- Top spots for 2009 were taken in the large city category by San Francisco for number of systems installed, San Jose for total watts, Richmond for watts/capita, and Berkeley for number of systems/capita.
- Comparing last year’s winners and data, San Francisco moved ahead of San Jose for the number of systems installed, and Richmond moved ahead of Sunnyvale for watts/capita. Among the counties, Santa Clara remained in the top spot for both total watts installed and number of systems while Napa won top spots for watts/capita and systems/capita.
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