Los Angeles -- Last week, California officials announced that the state’s California Solar Initiative (CSI) has hit a new milestone, with over 1,000 megawatts (or one gigawatt) of solar projects installed on rooftops throughout the state. This is roughly the equivalent of two medium-sized coal-fired power plants or one nuclear plant.
“California’s commitment to creating a vibrant, sustainable solar industry is paying off,” said Michelle Kinman, clean energy advocate for Environment California Research & Policy Center. “The hundreds of thousands of solar roofs up and down the state are reducing air pollution, creating local jobs and helping to make solar power more affordable for all Californians to enjoy.”
The California Solar Initiative (CSI) is the largest program created by California’s Million Solar Roofs Initiative (SB 1), sponsored by Environment California in 2006. The Million Solar Roofs Initiative established a 10-year, $3.3 billion statewide effort to establish 3,000 MW of rooftop solar power and make solar more common place and affordable. The CSI component, managed by the California Public Utilities Commission, seeks to expand the number of solar rooftop systems in investor owned utility territories, including Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric.
When the CSI’s current total of 1,066 MW is combined with other solar rooftop projects like those located in communities serviced by publically owned utilities, like Sacramento Municipal Utility District or the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, California’s installed rooftop solar capacity is 1,435 MW, well exceeding the total installed capacity of all but five countries world-wide.
The goal of the Million Solar Roofs Initiative is to install 3 GW of rooftop solar power by the end of 2016. With this milestone, combined with the growth of solar roofs throughout the state, California is half way to its goal, and remains on pace to hitting it on time.
“California leaders should ensure that the Million Solar Roofs Initiative stays on track,” said Michelle Kinman. “Furthermore, policymakers need to look beyond 2016 and keep California’s most promising clean energy market growing toward Governor Brown’s goal of installing 12 GW of local, clean power by 2020.”
Environment California Research & Policy Center is a statewide nonprofit environmental research and policy organization working to protect California’s air, water and open spaces.