Tag Archives: Calseia

New Report: Greatest Growth in Consumer Adoption of Solar Energy Among Middle Class

A new report on residential rooftop solar installations indicates the growth in California’s rooftop solar market is trending toward greater adoption by middle class households. The trend, seen over the course of eight years, aligns with a steady decline in the cost of solar power and in the increase of financing options.

The new study by Kevala Analytics analyzed California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) solar interconnection data for 386,000 net metered solar systems installed from 2008-2015. The main takeaway conclusion from the study is that as solar deployment has expanded statewide, an increasing percentage of installations within that time frame are benefiting low- and middle-income median zip codes, with a decreasing fraction of installations in upper-income zip codes.

During these same eight years, there has been a steep decline in the adoption of solar among upper-income households contrasted with a recent increase in the market among the lowest-bracket incomes. In 2015, the statewide number of households in the highest income brackets matched the number in the lowest income brackets.

Read full press release from CALSEIA

Big Energy’s Solar Grab Protested in California

Despite California Gov. Jerry Brown’s ceaseless tour of publicizing climate change and renewable-energy reforms, regulators are mulling expansive changes to the state’s solar-energy policy that critics claim could decimate a booming solar industry.

Ahead of a Dec. 31 deadline, the California Public Utilities Commission is considering proposals from the state’s largest utilities that would drastically alter how solar users pay for access to electricity grids. The utilities’ proposals could eliminate or weaken a popular state program that reimburses homeowners for their extra solar energy while increasing fees for accessing the grid.

At a rally Thursday at the state capital, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association Bernadette Del Chiaro told a crowd that the utilities are attempting to stifle residential solar systems in California and their proposals are aimed at increasing profits.

“The utilities are threatened by consumers generating their own electricity; it threatens their bottom lines,” Del Chiaro said, with dozens of solar-industry representatives clad in teal blue shirts behind her. “They make money off building big expensive infrastructure projects.”

At stake is a tariff program known as net metering, which allows homeowners with solar panels to send back excess energy to the electricity grid in exchange for compensation from the utility. Advocates credit net metering with making California the largest solar power producer in the nation and contributing more than 54,000 solar industry jobs statewide.

Read full article from Courthouse News Service

CALSEIA Executive Director Welcomes California Solar

calseia logo

I am pleased to welcome CaliforniaSolar.

CaliforniaSolar is unique in its combination of news reports with quantitative data and in-depth reports and studies of use to researchers and analysts.  I appreciate the efforts of CALSEIA member company Stanford Transportation Group for backing this effort.

One of the benefits of this site is its ability to lend an important new voice in calling for smart, consistent energy policy in California and to put a spotlight on inconsistent behavior. In April, for example, Governor Brown issued an executive order setting the goal of reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.  Yet within a few months of that announcement, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will decide on a utility industry request to flatten California’s electricity pricing tiers and add a fixed charge, thus reducing the incentives for homeowners to conserve energy or invest in alternative energy resources like solar.  Similarly, before the end of this year, the CPUC will consider new rules for net metering (what customers are credited for their solar contribution). A decision that, if breaks in the direction of the utilities, could harm the state’s solar market.

Beyond its environmental benefits, the solar industry in California is a significant job creator.  The most recent studies show that there are 54,000 solar-related workers in the state, more than utility workers. But inconsistent policy making at the state and federal levels (think loss of ITC) could jeopardize this economic growth.

In this dynamic environment, I welcome CaliforniaSolar as a site to help track and disseminate information on developments unique to our state.  If measured as a separate country, California would be the 5th largest solar producing region in the world.  It is imperative that we keep growing and leading the country, and world, on transitioning to a clean energy future.  Keeping ourselves informed and connected is critical to this goal. Thank you and welcome CaliforniaSolar.

Bernadette Del  Chiaro

Executive Director

California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA)