California Solar Initiative Outshined its 2012 Goal for Megawatts Installed


The sunshine state has surpassed the halfway mark on its goal to install 1,940 megawatts (MW) of solar power on homes and businesses by 2016. At the end of 2012, the California Solar Initiative (CSI), a solar rebate program for California consumers, had passed a milestone, exceeding 1,000 MW of installed solar power, reported EarthTechling.com.

The CSI, a 10-year, $2.4 billion program through three of California’s major investor-owned utilities, offers cash back rebates to customers for systems added to homes, businesses, farms, schools, and government and non-profit organizations.

CSI rebate amounts are determined by the system’s size, the type of customer and the solar unit’s performance.

“The CSI rebates decrease over time to help create a self-sustaining solar industry,” the California Public Utilities Commission said in its January 10 announcement. While rebates in most parts of the state have lowered by 92 percent since the start of the program in 2007, participation still continues to increase each year.

Before 2013, the CSI had installed 1,066 MW (55 percent of its 2016 target) through initiatives aimed at the general market and affordable housing developments, and another 332 MW are in the works. In comparison, the U.S. had roughly 6,400 MW of installed solar capacity at the end of the third quarter of 2012, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

“California has the most customer-side solar installations of any state in the nation,” said CPUC President Michael R. Peevey in the press release.

The initiative has proved successful despite initially low expectations from think-tanks such as SunCentric, which in 2011 predicted CSI wouldn't even reach 800 MW, reported pv-tech.org.