From the Mercury News, writer Matt Nauman, “Solar-power industry remains hot in California:”
Despite the turbulent economy, or perhaps because of it, solar energy remains a growth industry in California.
The amount of electricity generated in the state by solar energy soared in 2008, and applications for rebates under the state’s Million Solar Roofs program reached record levels in the last five months of the year.
“While we don’t have the final numbers yet, it appears we nearly doubled the amount of solar installed in 2008 versus 2007,” said Molly Tirpak Sterkel, director of the California Solar Initiative. “That’s a magnificent story.”
Experts attribute the surge in solar sales to a big increase in the federal tax credit, an ongoing state rebate and new innovative financing programs, as well as to mounting consumer concerns over global warming. The growth comes despite a U.S. economy suffering from a battered stock market, severe declines in house and car sales, and growing unemployment.
Perhaps 150 megawatts or more of new solar panels were installed in California in 2008, Sterkel said, up from 81 megawatts in 2007. (In California, one megawatt is enough electricity for 750 houses.)
She noted that California has more than half of the solar capacity in the United States, and that the state ranks as the world’s No. 4 solar entity after Germany, Spain and Japan.
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