Sonoma – Environment California awarded Mayor Steve Barbose and the City of Sonoma with a “2009 Solar Champion” award for having one of the largest concentrations of solar power in the state. According to Environment California, Sonoma has more than 250 solar roofs totaling more than 3,000 kilowatts of solar power capacity. This solar power concentration ranks Sonoma 5th in the state for solar power per capita.
Sonoma’s award comes after release of Environment California Research & Policy Center’s latest solar report, California’s Solar Cities: Leading the Way to a Clean Energy Future, which analyzes the amount of solar power installed in California on a city by city basis. According to the report, even without taking population into account, Sonoma ranks high among cities throughout the state. The data shows that Sonoma ranks 33rd for number of solar roofs and 32nd for amount of solar energy installed (capacity measured in kilowatts). A typical solar power installation on a home is approximately 3 kilowatts.
“Way to go Sonoma!” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, clean energy advocate for Environment California and author of the report. “Increasing numbers of Sonoma residents and businesses are investing in our abundant sunshine to save money, create green jobs and solve problems like global warming.”
Driving more consumers toward solar power is the availability of government incentives at the local, state and federal levels. Sonoma is especially supportive with the recent move to make solar financing available to city residents. State incentives, including upfront rebates also help. California has installed more solar power over the past two years, since the launch of the Million Solar Roofs rebate program, than in all previous ten years combined.
The report, California’s Solar Cities: Leading the Way to a Clean Energy Future, is the first ever study of the amount of solar power installed in California on a city by city basis. The report found that San Diego is number one statewide with 2,262 solar roofs totaling nearly 20 megawatts of solar power; Los Angeles has 1,388 solar roofs totaling 13 megawatts; San Francisco has 1,350 solar roofs totaling 7 MW, and that Fresno and Bakersfield have more than 700 solar roofs each. Other top ten cities for solar power per capita are St. Helena, Lakeport, Sonoma, Sebastopol, Auburn, Nevada City, Oroville, Portola Valley and Plymouth.
“A healthy and growing solar power market is taking hold throughout California from small towns to big cities,” said Del Chiaro. “What we’ve seen so far is only the beginning. The sky is no limit when it comes to putting Sonoma’s clean and abundant sunshine to work.”
For more information about solar rebates and tips on going solar, or to review the entire Solar Cities report, visit www.environmentcalifornia.org.