California sets new Solar Record, continues to lead US in Clean Tech development

(Image above: Solar panels on the roof of the Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Office Building in San Diego)

California set a new solar output record yesterday, reaching 2,071 megawatts at 12:59 PM. That’s enough energy to power 1.5 million homes, or about 5% of the state’s total needs.

“This new record is remarkable considering the amount has more than doubled since last September when solar peaked at 1,000 megawatts,” says Steve Berberich, California ISO President and CEO. “We are excited by this trend and expect to hit more record peaks on a regular basis.”

A number of public health and clean air groups, including the American Lung Association in California,  Presente.org and the California Environmental Justice Alliance, are petitioning the California Energy Commission to quantify the air quality and economic benefits associated with California’s ”net energy metering” policy.

“By driving the expansion of rooftop solar, net metering helps improve the quality of the air we breathe while creating jobs in our communities,” Dr. Luis Pacheco, Medical Director of the Transitional Care Unit at California Hospital Medical Center and co-Chair of Californians Against Utilities Stopping Solar Energy, said in a press release.  “These were key considerations when net metering was adopted, and should be included in an assessment of the policy’s overall effectiveness.”

According to the U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index , California “continues to serve as the epicenter of the U.S. clean-tech market” for the fourth year in a row. The state dominates North America “in highprofile areas like electric/hybrid vehicle adoption, smart meter installations, solar power capacity, and venture capital makes.”

San Diego plays a prominent role, leading the nation in rooftop installations, but is no longer North America’s “Solar  City.” In addition to being the second largest producer of solar energy, San Diego has the second largest number of green vehicles – with 48,837 hybrids and 3,527 EV’s – and has the sixth highest number of Green Buildings.

The authors of the Index state, “San Diego showed the best improvement of any top city over the 2012 Index. The metro area added 10 points to a 44.7 score to leap four places from 11th to seventh, giving California its fifth entrant in the top seven. San Diego has an aggressive focus from both the public and private sectors to expand its clean-tech economy, and it has paid off with a solid all-around performance of 11th place or better in all four categories.”

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