California has become one of the top states in the country in clean energy production, with solar energy growing rapidly throughout the Golden State. SunRun, one of the leading home solar companies in the country, recently announced the fastest-growing solar cities in California, in conjunction with the release of the company's year-end reports.
The cities that were named by SunRun added more home solar systems in 2011 than other cities throughout the state, showing that solar power is expanding rapidly in diverse locales.
"The cost of solar is coming down, which makes it more affordable for families in a more diverse range of cities," said Lynn Jurich, SunRun president and co-founder. "At SunRun we've also seen solar expand to more median income communities because our service allows homeowners to make the switch for zero or very little money upfront, and they lock in a low rate for clean electricity."
The list was topped by San Jose, which is a traditional solar city and a leading producer of clean energy in the country. While San Jose remains one of the top producers of solar energy, smaller cities like Hemet and Apple Valley are moving further up on the list, coming in No. 9 and 10, respectively. The majority of the residents in these two cities chose to switch to solar power without installing solar panels, opting to change to solar power service, instead.
"We thought it was important to not just look at which cities have the most solar installations, but also those that are growing the fastest," said Stephen Torres, founder and managing director of PV Solar Report. "While Apple Valley may not have the most solar in the state, its solar installation numbers grew by almost 70 percent in 2011."
The list was based on the California Solar Initiative's database of residential rebate reservations for the calendar year 2011.
Bakersfield, Simi Valley and Lancaster were ranked Nos. 2, 3 and 4, respectively, increasing their solar energy production throughout the year via solar panels installed and solar power services acquired.
SunRun is now installing more than $1.5 million in solar power daily and completing one rooftop installation every 11 minutes of the business day. The families that install the solar power pay a low monthly rate for the clean energy and help improve the environment in the process. According to SunRun, California has the potential to generate $5 billion in solar industry growth, and current expansion is being driven primarily by middle-income homeowners.
While residential solar power is growing at a rapid rate in the Golden State, many businesses and public entities are also embracing this affordable clean energy. One recent California solar installation was undertaken by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. The transit company installed solar panels on top of three bus yards. The installation accounts for 2.1 megawatts and will save the city more than $2.7 million in electricity costs over the next 20 years.
"VTA will be saving taxpayer money on energy costs while investing in a future that will benefit us all," said Yeager. "VTA is already combating global warming through the promotion of mass transit and congestion management. Now, we are reducing greenhouse gases through our operations, too."