From: Guest author, Jeana Brookes, Clean Techies, More from this Affiliate
Published December 20, 2012 11:09 AM

Which State Leads the the Solar Power Race?

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, in the second quarter of 2012, California again led the nation in installed solar capacity, with a total of 217 MW. The state is expected to lead the nation in the solar race again in 2013.

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According to new research from the California-based NPD Solarbuzz, California is projected to keep its position at number one in 2013, much thanks to its combination of policy initiatives and citizen motivation.

This year, San Diego was named the top Solar City in California for the second year in a row by the California Center for Sustainable Energy, making it not only the top city in the state, but in the country — and the city is not ready to lose that title anytime soon.

California has one of the most ambitious Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirement goals in the United States. By 2020, their standards require both public and investor-owned utilities to make 33 percent of all electricity delivered to customers from renewable energy sources.

The Go Solar California Campaign contains several policy initiatives to help the state become more solar friendly. The California Solar Initiative (CSI), for example, is the largest rate-payer-funded solar rebate program in the US. It serves homeowners who are customers of investor-owned utilities, and has supported California's baseline market demand for solar panels.

The state's New Solar Homes Partnership provides financial incentives and other support to builders of new, energy efficient solar homes. This, together with the CSI and the several other rebate programs offered through the dozens of publicly owned utilities in the state are key components of the Go Solar California initiative.

Although California is leading the race, New Jersey is a close second — and getting closer. New Jersey has intended for increased solar photovoltaic growth within the coming year, as part of the state's plan to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy. One example of the rebuilding using solar panels is solar-powered traffic lights.

Many homeowners and housing developments within New Jersery will be installing back-up solar generation, either grid-tied or off-grid, which can provide power during future major outages. In 2012, New Jersey's solar efforts generated 103 MW of solar power.

Despite New Jersey's efforts, California is projected to be the lead state yet again in solar panel installations and energy generated. California is just 7 years away from reaching its goal of 33 percent renewable energy, and is not planning to slow down anytime soon.

Read more at Clean Techies.

Solar power installation image via Shutterstock.

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