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July 23, 2010 > Bay Area leads California in new solar growth

Bay Area leads California in new solar growth

Submitted By Gwendolyn Mitchell and Lingxia Meng

The San Francisco Bay Area leads California in new solar installations according to data released on July 15, 2010 by the Northern California Solar Energy Association (NorCal Solar), a non-profit solar education organization.

Data highlights the significant growth of solar energy installations for 122 cities in 10 Bay Area counties for 2009 and reflects the aggregate increase in installations since the California Solar Initiative (CSI) launched in 2007. CSI is a10-year incentive program with a goal of installing 1,940 megawatts of solar power or the equivalent of one million rooftops. The Bay Area accounts for 46 percent of the State's newly installed systems and 40 percent of total added megawatts since CSI's implementation.

"The 2009 BASI Report shows the Bay Area continues to be a major contributor to the overall CSI goals of a 70 percent growth in total solar megawatts installation," said Claudia Wentworth, Chair of NorCal Solar's BASI Committee. "Despite the economic downturn, more than 52 megawatts of solar photovoltaic were added in the Bay Area, representing 55 percent of the State's total."

According to the analysis of publicly available rebate data, Californians purchased more than $2.5 billion in solar electric technology from 2007 to 2009, representing 24,682 Photovoltaic installations yielding 273.7 megawatts of electricity. During the same period, there were 11,438 solar projects, built at a cost of $1.04M, producing nearly 108.7 megawatts of electricity in the Bay Area.

Santa Clara County ranked "first" among 10 Bay Area Counties for total systems installed (940 systems) and total watts installed (16,104,335 solar watts). On July 14, County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith received the NorCal Solar Awards for these achievements at a ceremony at San Francisco Moscone Center.

"We're honored to receive the NorCal Solar Awards on behalf of Santa Clara County residents and businesses," said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith. "The use of solar energy helps decrease green house emissions and increase environmental sustainability. Santa Clara County will continue to encourage residents and business owners to utilize solar energy. We hope more counties will join us in this endeavor."

The annual BASI Report uses population guidelines from the League of California Cities to rank Large Cities, Medium Cities, Small Cities and Counties by "Total Systems Installed, Total Watts Installed, Systems per Capita and Watts per Capita."

The Report also shows 93 percent of installations in the State and Bay Area are residential and 7 percent are commercial, government and non-profit organizations. According to Elaine Hebert, President of NorCal Solar Board of Directors, these statistics underscore the fundamental commitment to solar energy by individual homeowners in all cities and communities.

"NorCal Solar is dedicated to its mission of solar education and believes the latest BASI data is a valuable tool for Bay Area communities to build on each other's experiences in solar energy expansion. NorCal Solar is happy to recognize our local communities' achievements, as their successes can provide a roadmap for other communities," commented Elisabeth Holmgren, NorCal Solar Executive Director.

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