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Published on July 12th, 2012 | by Jake Richardson

6

1,940 MW of Solar for California by 2016 from CSI

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July 12th, 2012 by
 
 

Update 12:03 EST, July 13: here’s an important note/clarification from Michelle Kinman of Environment California:

“The California Solar Initiative (CSI) is but one component of the state’s Go Solar California program, which seeks to expand the number of solar energy systems installed on existing homes in investor-owned utility territories, with a goal of installing 1,940 MW by the end of 2016.  In addition, the publicly-owned utilities have a goal to collectively install 700 MW of solar capacity by 2016.  Finally, the New Solar Homes Partnership, managed by the California Energy Commission, seeks to expand the amount of solar energy systems installed on new homes in investor-owned utility territories, aiming to install 360 MW by 2016.

Thus, while the CSI program is expected to achieve 1,940 MW of installed solar by the end of 2016, the state as a whole is projected to install a total of 3,000 MW by this same deadline.”

According to a report by the California Public Utilities Commission, the state of California plans to have a total of 1,940 megawatts of solar capacity implemented by 2016, probably at the end of the year. The Golden State was the first in the United States to achieve 1,000 MW of installed customer generated solar technology. Over 300 MW were constructed in 2011.

The California Solar Initiative is the largest solar program in the country and has a budget of $2.2 billion dollars. By the end of the first quarter of 2012, California had about 1,255 MW of solar capacity installed at over 120,000 sites.

Though solar power has become somewhat of a political football in an election year, and there has been some negative press due to situations like Solyndra (just one of hundreds or thousands of solar power companies), California has continued to install more solar capacity. Given the political turbulence and a struggling economy, it is impressive to see such a huge state determined to follow through with its clean energy goals.

One of the main benefits of installing 1,940 MW of solar capacity by 2016 is replacing 585 million therms of natural gas utilization.

Net metering is also part of the overall strategy, as it allows some financial benefit (albeit not large) to low-income residents who install solar panels, as well as those who typically buy solar panels who have more money.

When the national economy returns to a more stable and productive phase, one would hope the lessons learned during the lean times could help the cause even more, when there is greater opportunity for financing, and creative strategy.

Image Credit: Wiki Commons, Urban

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  • Michelle Kinman

    Indeed, solar power is the one bright spot in our
    economy.  Not only has California
    installed more than one GW of solar power to date, but the state’s solar
    industry is putting more than 25,000 Californians to work to repower our
    economy, while protecting the environment and our health.

    One important clarification is needed in your article.  The California Solar Initiative (CSI) is but one
    component of the state’s Go Solar California program, which seeks to expand the
    number of solar energy systems installed on existing homes in investor-owned
    utility territories, with a goal of installing 1,940 MW by the end of 2016.  In addition, the publicly-owned utilities
    have a goal to collectively install 700 MW of solar capacity by 2016.  Finally, the New Solar Homes Partnership,
    managed by the California Energy Commission, seeks to expand the amount of
    solar energy systems installed on new homes in investor-owned utility
    territories, aiming to install 360 MW by 2016.

    Thus, while the CSI program is expected to achieve 1,940 MW
    of installed solar by the end of 2016, the state as a whole is projected to
    install a total of 3,000 MW by this same deadline.
    Michelle Kinman
    Clean Energy Advocate
    Environment California

    • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Thank you for chiming in. I just updated the post, quoting most of your comment at the top of the post.

      -Z

  • RobS

    It’s like the people who write these predictions are morons. Even during the GFC there has never been a year where less solar was installed then the year before. 1,255 by the end of 1st quarter 2012 means approximately 1,500 by year end 2012. That means to reach 1,900 by the end of 2016 the average annual installations would have to dive to 100mw per year at a time when the actual installation rate is 300-400mw per year. You’d have to disconnect your brain from reality to take such a prediction seriously.

    • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

      CPUC

  • ThomasGerke

    Good, but less than 10% of the solar capacity Germany will have installed untill 2016 (when adjusted for the difference in population)

    CA 2016: 2 GW
    Ger 2016: 52 GW
    Ger 2016 with 37 million people: 23 GW

    Considering that Germany installed 85% of it’s solar capacity during the last 4 years that goal is almost ridiculous. Especially considering that solar would be able to produce peak-load power at $6-8ct / kWh in CA… government shouldn’t regulate in the interesst of utilities, but in the interesst of the people & the common good. 

    It’s a pity that the state of CA is still able to brag with a clean energy leader image while it is failing so obviously. 

    Everything below 10GW by 2016 is a disgrace… when Italy is able to install 9GW in one year, CA should be able to manage to do the same in 4 years. 
    What a shame if it actually ends up being just 1,94 GW. 

    (edit)
    Actually the 10 million inhabitants of the Czech Republic have already installed 1,960 MW as of 2011.
    CA, come on!

    • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

      I was planning to do a whole post on this. :D

      Thanks for the math. :D

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