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New 2009 Bay Area Solar Installations (BASI) Report Finds Bay Area Leads California in New Solar Growth

Santa Clara County Ranks 1st in Solar Installations in Bay Area Counties

Berkeley, California - The San Francisco Bay Area leads California in new solar installations according to the latest data released yesterday by the Northern California Solar Energy Association (NorCal Solar), a non-profit solar education organization.

The data highlights the significant growth of solar energy installations for 122 cities in 10 Bay Area counties for 2009. The data also reflects the increase in solar installations in the Bay Area since the California Solar Initiative (CSI) launched in 2007. CSI is a10-year incentive program with a goal of installing 1,940 megawatts of solar power or the equivalent of one million rooftops. The data reveals that since the implementation of the CSI, the Bay Area has accounted for 46% of the State’s newly installed systems and 40% of total added megawatts.

“The 2009 BASI Report shows that the Bay Area continues to be a major contributor to the overall CSI goals of a 70% growth in total solar megawatts installation,” said Claudia Wentworth, Chair of NorCal Solar’s BASI Committee. “Despite the economic downturn, over 52 megawatts of solar photovoltaic were added in the Bay Area, representing 55% of the State’s total.”

According to the analysis of publicly available rebate data, Californians purchased more than $2.5 billion in solar electric technology from 2007 to 2009, representing 24,682 Photovoltaic installations yielding 273.7 megawatts of electricity. During the same period in the Bay Area, there were 11,438 solar projects, built at a cost of $1.04 million, producing nearly 108.7 megawatts of electricity.

Santa Clara County ranked the first among 10 Bay Area Counties for total systems installed (940 systems) and total watts installed (16,104,335 solar watts). Last night, County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith received the NorCal Solar Awards for these achievements at a ceremony held at San Francisco Moscone Center.

“We are honored to receive the NorCal Solar Awards on behalf of Santa Clara County residents and businesses,” said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith. “The use of solar energy helps to decrease green house emissions and increase environmental sustainability. The County of Santa Clara will continue to encourage residents and business owners to utilize solar energy and we hope more counties will join us in this endeavor.”

The annual BASI Report uses population guidelines from the League of California Cities to rank Large Cities, Medium Cities, Small Cities and Counties by Total Systems Installed, Total Watts Installed, Systems per Capita and Watts per Capita. The raw data for this report includes records from the California Solar Initiative (CSI), the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), the Emerging Renewable Program (ERP), and the municipal-owned City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU), Silicon Valley Power (SVP) and Alameda Municipal Power (AMP). The records used in the CSI data were limited to "Completed" or "PBI - In Payment" in the status field as of the end of 2009.

The BASI Report also shows that 93% of the installations in the State and Bay Area are residential while 7% are commercial, government and nonprofit organizations. Commenting on the report, Elaine Hebert, President of NorCal Solar Board of Directors, said, “These statistics underscore the grassroots commitment to solar energy from individual homeowners in all cities and communities.”

Elisabeth Holmgren, NorCal Solar Executive Director, commented, “NorCal Solar is dedicated to its mission of solar education and believes that the latest BASI data offers a valuable tool for Bay Area communities to build on each other’s experiences in solar energy expansion. NorCal Solar is happy to recognize our local communities’ achievements, as their successes can provide a roadmap for other communities.”

The full BASI Report is available online at www.norcalsolar.org. Key Findings of the report include the following:

  • Over 52 megawatts of solar photovoltaic were added in the Bay Area in 2009, representing 55% of the state’s total and a 70% growth since 2008.
  • In 122 Bay Area Cities and 10 Bay Area Counties, a total of 4,534 new installations were added, representing 61% of the state’s total and a 25% growth since 2008.
  • Top Ranked Counties for New Solar Installations (2009)
    Santa Clara County – 1st place for Total Number of New Systems
    Santa Clara County – 1st place for Total Watts installed
    Napa County – 1st place for Systems per Capita
    Napa County - 1st place for Watts per Capita
  • Top Large Cities for New Solar Installations (2009)
    San Francisco – 1st place for Total Number of New Systems
    San Jose – 1st place for Total Watts installed
    Berkeley – 1st place for Systems per Capita
    Richmond – 1st place for Watts per Capita

Media Contact: Elisabeth Holmgren, Executive Director, NorCal Solar, ed@norcalsolar.org; Deborah Burstyn, Communications Consultant, NorCal Solar, dburtyn@norcalsolar.org; Gwendolyn Mitchell/Lingxia Meng, County of Santa Clara, 408.299.5119
Posted: July 15, 2010