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California Solar Generation Grew 1,378% In 5 Years

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The total electricity generated from solar in the US state of California between 2009 and 2014 increased an astonishing 1,378%.

Next 10-2

This is one of the key findings from the 8th edition of Next 10’s California Green Innovation Index, released in late June. In addition to the mind-blowing solar statistics, zero emission vehicle (ZEV) adoption rates have also increased, renewable energy sources served 25% of California’s retail electricity sales, and it generated 20.1% of the state’s total electricity in 2014 — up from 12% in 2009.

“As the sixth largest economy in the world and an innovator in climate and energy policy, California is forging a decoupling between economic growth and carbon emissions per-capita,” said F. Noel Perry, businessman and founder of the nonpartisan nonprofit group Next 10. “California is not only the fourth-most energy productive economy in the world, the state also leads in key clean tech indicators, like clean tech patents and investment. Much of the rest of the nation is following our lead.”

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ZEV registrations have increased by 244% in two years, and in tandem with the massive uptake of solar, Next 10 believes these developments are “signalling major market disruption as clean energy technology hotspots take root across California, and not just in traditional innovation hubs.”

“California is a global leader when it comes to expanding its economy without increasing per capita emissions—this trend represents a shift from old growth models,” said Christopher Thornberg, founding partner of Beacon Economics, which compiled the Index for Next 10.

Next 10-3Other highlights from the Index include:

  • California’s total state greenhouse gas emissions fell .62 percent in 2014.
  • Total solar residential installed capacity increased 65 percent in 2015, while industrial interconnected megawatts almost doubled.
  • California topped the nation in all major clean technology patent categories in 2015, registering more than five times the solar patents than the 2nd ranked state (New York), and generating over 25 percent of all energy efficiency patents in the U.S.
  • The Golden State pulled in $9.8 billion in clean tech investment in 2015, 68 percent of the U.S. total, up 35 percent from 2014.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from surface transportation decreased .8 percent between 2011 and 2015, despite a 2.2 percent increase in total vehicle registrations.
  • In 2014, California’s average monthly residential electricity bill was 20 percent lower than the U.S. average due to higher levels of energy efficiency.

“California’s increasing energy productivity and renewable energy growth are not accidents,” Perry said. “They can be tied to policies, from the landmark AB 32 climate and clean energy law to last year’s SB 350. This year’s Green Innovation Index shows how you can trace progress on clean energy and climate from innovations in California’s metro areas to policies to commitments made by governments around the world.”

The full report is available for download here (PDF).

Related: California Solar Energy – Solar Incentives, Installers, Costs

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