The seminal 2007 California Solar Initiative (CSI) introduced in California State has ensured that it leads the country in photovoltaic installations. Throughout the state itself, there is wide-spread variation in the distribution of PV installations. With the possible refunding of the CSI program, perhaps another leap forward could be headed for us soon.
The PV industry continues to contribute to the significant growth of alternative and renewable energy resources industry in the country. However, the California’s lead in photovoltaic installations is starting to show negligible decline since 2009 onwards largely due to the limitations imposed by large dips in the economy.
California had in fact triggered the growth of the photovoltaic industry in the country with the ambitious CSI.
The CSI is implemented through the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), is a decade long program with projected 2.2 billion budget and ambitious goals of installing 1,940 megawatts of PV on a million rooftops throughout the state.
Not only has the state achieved the assigned milestones of long-term environmental goals, it has also become the blue print for other states in the country to follow with its range of innovative financial incentives, consumer-friendly policies and tax rebate programs as well.
The statistics are staggering and are the result of extensive research by industry analysts and researchers in the country like the leading IHS organization.
The installation capacity of PV in California in the current year is estimated at 967 megawatts. Industry experts believe in 2012 the captive solar power generation would reach 1.2GW a quantity that is unassailable by combined efforts of even six other states in the country.
IHS data reiterates it and reveals that the combined productive capacity 40 states are as low as 395MW.
The state continues to build the road map for the country’s solar power generation with yet another path-breaking initiative. This initiative was the result of a late-July Conference by researchers, business in the industry and politicians at UCLA. The new initiative finds endorsement by the Calif. Governor Jerry Brown as well and targets 2020 as the year by which the state will source close to 33 percent of energy from combined renewable sources of 12GW.
As the state government remains committed to achieving the alternative energy generation, the state is on way to achieve several milestones like the addition of 7.5GW addition to the grid. The final goal for the state is to reach 12GW by 2020. In 2010, production was poised at 900MW and is expected to reach 8.4GW by 2015.
“California is indeed at the forefront of photovoltaic technology, and its commitment to the industry is important for the whole North America region,” says Mike Sheppard , a photovoltaic technology analyst at IHS. California ’s insolation levels of 5.4 kWh per square meter per day, as measured by NASA; it is the highest in the country and will achieve trade analysts’ predictions.
Backed by political will and the budgetary support California continues to grow its Photo Voltaic footprint in the state with massive PV projects like the Topaz Solar farm with (550MW); Niland Project (500MW) in Imperial County and similar projects.