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Michelle Kinman,
Environment California

California Rooftop Solar Hits 1.5 Gigawatt Milestone

50 percent market growth in less than 1.5 years
For Immediate Release

Los Angeles – Today, California officials announced that over 1.5 gigawatts of solar power have been installed on rooftops throughout the state. This is roughly the equivalent of three medium-sized coal-fired power plants.

“Today’s solar milestone is a testament to California’s commitment to a brighter, cleaner future,” said Michelle Kinman, clean energy advocate for Environment California Research & Policy Center. “Homes, schools and businesses throughout the state are reducing air pollution, fighting global warming, improving the reliability of our electricity grid, boosting the economy and creating local jobs, all by going solar.”

California celebrated passing the 1 gigawatt benchmark in November 2011, meaning that the state’s rooftop solar market has grown approximately 50 percent in less than a year and a half. This dramatic rate of progress is developing according to plan.

In 2006, California created the Million Solar Roofs Initiative (now part of the “Go Solar California Campaign”). The plan is to use $3.3 billion in incentives to drive the installation of 3 gigawatts of rooftop solar power by the end of 2016, while also reducing the cost of solar power and creating a vibrant, sustainable solar industry for the long-term. The initiative was designed to spark growth in the solar market, and then scale back incentives.

“California leaders have succeeded in establishing the nation’s strongest solar market, but now is not the time to bask in the sunshine,” said Kinman. “Policymakers must build on this foundation to remain the country’s clean energy leader, transforming our economy, generating jobs and protecting our health and environment for generations to come.”

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Environment California Research & Policy Center is a statewide nonprofit environmental research and policy organization working to protect California’s air, water and open spaces. More information can be found at www.environmentcalifornia.org/center.