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Most Popular Home Solar Panels in California: SunPower, Sharp, Kyocera, Suntech & Yingli

Earlier in the week I took a look at which brands of solar panels have been top choices for residential solar energy systems in California. We found that three manufacturers -- SunPower, Sharp Solar and BP Solar -- have accounted for about half of all residential solar energy systems, judging from the number of rebate applications received under California's main solar incentive program.

The data reviewed on Tuesday go all the way back to 2006, when that incentive program -- the California Solar Initiative -- was launched. I suggested at the end of my previous post that a peek at more recent numbers only would reveal "a rise in the number of installations from manufacturers like Suntech Power, Canadian Solar and Trina Solar relative to makers like Evergreen Solar and SolarWorld."

Well, here's what the numbers look like since 2010:

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Top 3 Solar Panel Makers = Half Of California Residential Solar Energy Systems

This morning, I got to tinkering around with some numbers from California Solar Statistics, a program of the state's Energy Commission and Public Utilities Commission. What did I find?

Well, beyond a wealth of details on system size, average installed cost and California solar incentives, I verified that most solar home energy systems in the state use name-brand panels from large, well established manufacturers.

Here's a breakdown of all California residential photovoltaic (PV) systems, by solar panel manufacturer:

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SoCal Edison (Still) Offers the Best Solar Rebate in California: Here's Why

If you're a residential customer of Southern California Edison (SCE), you've got more than SoCal's sunny days to be happy about. You're also sitting on what is arguably the state's best solar rebate. We've discussed this before. But, looking at the numbers this morning, I could help but mention it again.

Here's the deal. In 2006, the state's public utilities commission launched the California Solar Initiative (CSI), a multi-year program aimed at providing more than $3 billion in incentives to solar-energy projects through 2016. The program was broken up into ten "steps," each representing a certain amount solar power (in megawatts, or MW). According to the program structure, as more solar gets installed, the incentive level is reduced. Like this:

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San Diego, Los Angeles Counties Lead in Residential Solar Energy Numbers

One of the nice things about solar rebate programs -- beyond the fact that they help reduce the cost of solar installation -- is that they can provide a trove of interesting solar-related data.

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More Solar for So-Cal Affordable Housing, Thanks to New Parntership

GRID Alternatives, the California organization that installs solar energy systems atop affordable housing complexes primarily in northern California, is partnering with Sunvalley Solar to extend its program to the state's southern half.

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Cost of California Solar Installations in Spotlight, Following WSJ Article

Posted by Adam Sewall In Wednesday, August 18 2010 under: California Solar Initiative, solar cost, Cost and Financing, California Solar

Did some Californians get ripped off on their solar panel installations? Maybe.

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Southern California Edison Offers Highest Solar Rebates in California

Come and get 'em while they last! Southern California Edison (SCE) offers residential rebates of $1.55 per watt of solar panels installed, while the other two main utilities covered by the California Solar Initiative (CSI) -- PG&E and SDG&E -- offer a lower payment of $0.65 per watt. Fewer customers in SCE's service area have taken advantage of the CSI solar rebates, so the step-down program still offers a higher rebate. To highlight what a great deal this makes for SCE customers, let's walk through the cost with GetSolar's Solar Financial Calculator.

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Californians Very Satisfied with Solar System Performance, Report Says

Earlier this month, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) release its 2010 assessment of the California Solar Initiative (CSI), a multi-year effort to increase the number of solar installations statewide. Among the report's most interesting bits? The results from a phone survey CPUC conducted in 2009.

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For Now, San Jose is California's Leading 'Solar City'

Judging from number released a couple of weeks ago, San Jose can rightfully claim to be "the most" solar city in California.

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California Solar Initiative Making Good Progress, CPUC Says

Posted by Adam Sewall In Monday, July 12 2010 under: SCE, California Solar Initiative, CPUC, SDG&E, PGE, CSI, Utility Solar

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) last week issued its annual assessment of the California Solar Initiative, a $2.2 billion effort to install 1,940 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity across the state by 2016. On balance, the commission's findings are positive:

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