California’s Inland Cities Lead in Home Solar
Just how much do Californians love solar? A whole lot, if the recent growth of solar in the state is any indication. That’s no surprise — California is known as a leader when it comes to technology and innovation. What may be more surprising is where most of that growth is happening. According to PV Solar Report, 80% of California’s top 25 Solar Cities are inland communities, and they’re not the wealthiest in the state.
While you might think of California’s major metropolitan areas as the forefront of new industry growth and innovation, solar reaches far beyond these hubs. Many of the leading Solar Cities in California are median-income communities like Fresno, Clovis, El Cajon, and Chico. According to the most recent census data, Fresno’s median annual income was just over $41,000. Yet Fresno is near the top of the Solar Cities list, at #3 in installs for Q1 2013.
But that’s not the only surprising fact. Another thing you might not expect is that this growth is happening while state incentives for solar have steadily declined to almost zero.
What accounts for this? A key factor is third-party-owned solar, also called solar-as-a-service. With solar-as-a-service, a provider like Sunrun owns, maintains, and insures solar panels on a homeowner’s roof. As a homeowner, you pay little to no money upfront for the panels, avoid the responsibilities of ownership, and save money on electricity bills. This innovative model means more homeowners, across incomes, can benefit from going solar.
In the cities with the most solar growth since 2008, solar-as-a-service has increased substantially — an average of more than 104% from Q1 2012 to Q1 2013. In that period, the city of Chico had a 153% increase in solar-as-a-service installations.
“The increase of third-party-owned solar in California’s top cities today verses 2008 shows how crucial that model has been to spreading solar on rooftops,” says Stephen Torres, founder and CEO of Sunible. “It’s really exciting to see that in the last five years, more homeowners of all incomes have been able to power their homes with solar.”
California is one of the sunniest states in the country and has some of the highest electricity costs. Now it also has solar-as-a-service to help people get some relief from these high costs. With so many conditions right for solar, residents of the top Solar Cities are taking control of their electricity costs while doing something good for the planet and their families.
California’s top 25 Solar Cities in Q1 2013:
- San Diego
- Los Angeles
- San Jose
- Palm Springs
- El Cajon
- Santa Clarita
- Apple Valley
- Rancho Mirage
- Palm Desert
- Rancho Cucamonga
This list is based on the number of installations completed between Q1 2012 and Q1 2013. If you go by kilowatts installed, the list is slightly different but is still led by inland cities.