California; Solar Powerhouse of the United States!
California isn’t just the hot-spot for suntanned bliss; it also contains more solar power than any other state in the US!
According to Green Tech Media, the California Independent System Operator reported that the state hit 8,030 megawatts of solar on July 12th, 2016, almost 2,000 megawatts more than the summer of 2015!
However, this doesn’t include privately/customer-owned solar power, but specifically the managed plants.
Steven Greenlee stated that “we (CAISO) don’t see behind-the-meter solar installations”, which is approximately 4,406 megawatts from solar projects installed behind the meter!
All of this data is difficult to gather with complete accuracy, but you can read more on that by clicking here.
To summarize, there is actually a couple thousand more megawatts of solar power going on in California (as if 8,000 wasn’t enough).
Even the largest thermal power station (Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System) is located at the base of Clark Mountain in California, with a gross capacity of almost 400 megawatts!
The crazy part about this is that around 15 years ago, the state of California claimed to have no power from solar energy at all!
How Did This Even Start?
It all began with the California Solar Initiative, which began in 2006. The Initiative’s goal was to install 3,000 MW of solar power by 2016 (which was then expanded in 2011 to 12,000 megawatts by 2020).
The Million Solar Roofs Program was also in the CSI, where Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s goal for California was to create 1,940 megwatts of new, solar-roduced electricity by 2016.
To get this up and moving, the CSI offered up to $2.50 per AC watt to those who installed the solar systems, hoping this cash incentive would encourage enough residents and non-residents to jump on board. This also included the federal tax incentives, which ended up covering up to half of the toal cost of the solar panel system.
This incentive was only a temporary measure, and they lowered it to $0.20 to $1.10 per AC watt, depending on what category you were under as a customer. As you can see from the stats provided above, it worked pretty well. By the summer of 2016, around 4,000 MW were installed in over 500,000 projects!
Benefits Of Installing Solar Panel Systems
As long as you don’t have a ton of trees or shade covering the area, installing these solar systems seems to have more benefits than negative consequences.
For one, it can almost eliminate your energy bills; once you pay for the initial cost of installing the roof panels, of course. The added bonus to that is you won’t have to worry about the continually rising cost of electricity those without solar panels have to deal with!
Secondly (and thirdly), it is environmentally friendly, renewable, and sustainable!
Fourthly, it requires very little maintenance, with a bit of hosing when it’s been a particularly dry season. If this didn’t win you over, then the next positive effect will…
Bringing more solar power into the area also creates more jobs and economic growth!
Need even more reasons to install those panels? Check them out in the link below…
It is absolutely incredible what technology today is allowing us to do, especially when it comes to conserving the environment, and using the sun as a primary source of energy!
Does this remind you of a particular superhero at all?
So, next time you visit California, if you happen to see Schwarznegger, give him a pat on the back!