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10 Facts About Solar Energy in California

By September 13, 2021Blog
Large utility-scale solar farm in California desert with sand hills in the background.

While California is recognized as one of the most popular locations for solar energy, the state may be more invested in solar power than some owners realize. Commercial and industrial solar in California is fast-growing, an important part of the economy, and a key interest for the state government. Let’s look at some of the most interesting current facts about California solar energy, how it works, and the difference it’s making around the state.

1. Around 20% of California’s power is produced by solar installations. This is an incredible increase from just a decade ago, when only 0.4% of California’s energy was produced by solar. That’s a 52x increase! It’s no surprise that California continues to be the leading state for producing utility solar power, although states like Texas and Florida are catching up.

2. California has nearly 1 million solar installations: Specific numbers are difficult to calculate and trail by a few years, but the state appears to have reached over 1 million installations, with more being added all the time. If you’re thinking about being counted in that number, it’s a good idea to act fast – the federal tax credit for solar installations, both commercial and residential, is taking a steep dive after 2021, so this is the year to break ground on a new project if possible.

3. There are nearly 2,000 “solar schools” in California: These are schools that have been outfitted with solar panels to help promote renewable thanks to a partnership with Pacific Gas and Electricity, among other organizations. They not only help reduce the school’s electric bills throughout the year but allow students to learn more about clean energy in hands-on ways. This is such a money saver that schools across the country are beginning to adopt solar too.

4. California has the largest operating solar farm in the United States: That would be the Solar Star installation, a 579-MW facility that opened in 2015. However, it’s not the largest in the world anymore – that would be the truly enormous Pavagada Solar Park in India, which covers 13,000 acres and has a capacity of 2,050 megawatts. Several other facilities across the world, including projects in the United States, are currently under construction and will also surpass Solar Star.

5. California prioritizes solar customers: Solar customers enjoy unique protections under the California government, which is particularly helpful for residential consumers. That includes a law detailing your rights and how to avoid solar scams, which may also be helpful for interested commercial owners.

6. California’s latest solar mandate requires new commercial building to include solar panels: This broad mandate is not fully passed yet but is likely to be incorporated into California building codes before the end of the year. It will require solar panels and solar battery storage on all new commercial buildings. That will include apartments, offices, hotels, schools, and other structures.

7. Microgrid solar installations are on the rise in California: These new types of commercial solar energy solutions in California are used to power groups of buildings, like a business complex or residential area, from a central location. Microgrids are connected to the larger power grid, but they can switch to an autonomous mode which the greater grid is disrupted. This allows them to keep providing vital power if a natural disaster shuts off the grid, as has happened before during California wildfires and other events.

8. Agricultural solar energy systems are crop-friendly, too: California agricultural installations are designed to support certain types of crop growth, especially grasses and other crops that stay low to the ground. They can even provide shade for livestock. This allows farmers to find more potential placements for solar panels.

9. The solar industry in California supports around 80,000 jobs: It’s a thriving industry that supports thousands of people across the state in a wide variety of jobs, from finance to construction.

10. Solar energy is also powering electrical vehicles: Solar energy is incredibly versatile and can be used for many applications. Electric vehicles are also popular in California, so it’s no surprise that there are many solar EV charging stations and solar panel shades in parking lots around the state. The installations don’t require extra space, help customers and even provide shade.

Looking for a solar solution of your own? Coldwell Solar is the commercial solar company you need as a partner for your solar energy project: We offer a full suite of services from consultation and financing to development and monitoring. Contact us today and we can discuss what solar can do for you.

The Fed has passed a bill granting renewable energy funds, meaning an expanded tax credit for renewable energy users

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