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Solar Installations Double In California

Audio

Aired 6/16/11

Solar experts cite government incentives and falling prices for jump.

The sale and installation of solar panels in California doubled in the first part of this year.

A new study by the Solar Energy Industries Association says that’s solar’s biggest leap so far.

Nationally, the solar power market grew 66 percent in the first three months of this year. But nowhere in the country was the expansion greater than in California. The state saw a 97 percent increase in the amount of solar power that was connected to the electricity grid.

Solar panels sit above the Solar Grove parking lot at the Kyocera Plant in San Diego, California. Thousands of people are training to work in the green energy industry in California, but job growth is not meeting demand.
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Above: Solar panels sit above the Solar Grove parking lot at the Kyocera Plant in San Diego, California. Thousands of people are training to work in the green energy industry in California, but job growth is not meeting demand.

Thomas Kimbis of Solar Energy Industries Association said aside from the weather, part of the growth in the state is due to falling prices for solar panels, incentives…

“And lastly, the price of electricity that you’re paying for traditional energy sources in California is much higher than most other areas in the country," Kimbis said. "So that combines to create a great market opportunity for solar.”

The price of solar power is about to get even cheaper. Internet giant Google has teamed up with the solar installation firm SolarCity to help offset the costs of installing solar power in homes.

“The partnership with Google allows us to expand solar financing options that make it possible for San Diego area customers to install solar power pay less for solar power each month than they previously paid for electricity so they can save from day one,” said Jonathan Price of Solar City.

There are more than 10,000 solar installations in San Diego County. Between 60 and 80 percent of them are for homes.

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