What You Need to Know About Buying Solar Panels in CaliforniaSolar power in California has been growing rapidly because of the plethora of sunny days, widespread government and community support, rapidly declining solar costs, and a Renewable Portfolio Standard which requires that 33% of California’s electricity come from renewable resources by 2020, and 50% by 2030. In 2014, utility-scale solar power in California generated 9.9 million megawatt-hours, more than double the amount generated in 2013, and more than 5% of total utility-scale electrical generation in the state. The cost of installing a photovoltaic system in a residential or commercial property in California has decreased 5% from 2013–nationally, the cost of solar has decreased by 53% since 2010. The large scale investments that California is making in solar power will undoubtedly bring about cleaner air, lower energy costs, and an increase in job opportunities.
Solar Incentives in CaliforniaCalifornia has created incentives, including rebates and net-metering policies, to encourage rooftop and other small-scale solar capacity. Thanks in part to those incentives, at the end of 2014, more than 2,300 MW of small-scale solar capacity had been installed on homes and businesses. It’s important to note that investing in these systems won’t get you “off the grid.” In fact, the incentives work hand-in-hand with the grid. Your new photovoltaic system will produce energy that flows back onto the grid, which they conversely draw from whenever their systems are not generating energy. Note: these grid-tied solar electric systems are not typically designed to provide back-up power when there is an electrical outage. The California Solar Initiative (CSI) offers cash back for installing solar on your home or business. Managed by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the CSI provides incentives for photovoltaic system installations to customers of the state’s three investor-owned utilities (IOUs): Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E). The CSI Program provides upfront incentives for photovoltaic systems installed on existing residential homes, as well as existing and new commercial, industrial, government, non-profit, and agricultural properties within the service territories of the IOUs.
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