11 January 2013

California reaches renewable energy milestone

Furnace Creek, California

State regulators in California have reported that a significant milestone in renewable energy use has been reached.

It has been reported that more than  1,000 megawatts, or 1 gigawatt, of solar power has been installed throughout the state through the California Solar Initiative, the state's programme to encourage, businesses, local governments and nonprofit organizations to install solar panels on the roofs of their properties. The Initiative, launched in 2007, is an ambitious programme and has called for nearly 2,000 new megawatts of solar power to be installed in the state by 2016.

San Jose, California's leader in solar power use, has reportedly installed over 54 megawatts on various properties and San Diego, Fresno and Lancaster have also impressed with installations of the technology.

The  programme had installed 1,066 megawatts in its general market and affordable housing programmes by the close of 2012, which mean it is over 50 per cent toward the 1,940 megawatt goal. 558 megawatts of that total are installed in PG&E's northern California territory and an additional 332 megawatts, or 17 per cent of the total, are in the planning stages and could be rolled out in 2013.

The programme is hoping to realise “grid parity” in the solar industry. This is the  point where solar power becomes cost effective to consumers and producers and is able to compete economically with the long established, cheaper sources of energy such as gas.

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