California leads the nation in residential solar power use, and between 2009-2014 the amount of solar energy generation increased by an amazing 1,378%. There was distress within the industry that the recession would kill the dream of solar energy realizing its full potential, but recent years have quelled those fears. In 2015 alone, total residential megawatts soared by 65% in California.
Among the leaders of the California solar boom is the Sacramento Valley region. The Next10 study ranked the Sacramento area seventh in the state in residential capacity, 11th for commercial capacity, and 15th for industrial capacity.
Even the new arena in downtown Sacramento is getting into the solar energy game. The Golden 1 Center will be covered with 3,300 solar panels, generating an estimated 15% of the entertainment complex’s energy needs.
Renewable, Reliable, Cost-Efficient
The cost of Sacramento solar energy is trending in the right direction for the average homeowner looking to invest in solar power. Thanks to high-efficiency levels, California’s average residential electric bill was 20% less than the rest of the country’s.
By early 2016 the price of installing residential solar power systems dropped by 5% per-watt nationwide. The 5% drop doesn’t even take into account the multiple incentive programs available to residential solar power customers.
There is a major push in California to assure residential solar power continues to become more affordable and accessible. As evidence, the Department of Energy’s Sunshot Program has set an ambitious, but ultimately attainable, goal of $1.50 per-watt cost for residential solar power systems by 2020.
The White House has also made it a priority to bring affordable solar power to middle-to-low income households by 2020. The “Clean Energy Savings for all Americans Initiative,” is the government’s plan for streamlining financing residential solar power, with a no-money-down approach based on the homeowner’s property tax bill instead of a FICO score.
The plan, known as “Property Assessed Clean Energy,” has been in place in California for the last few years. It gives homeowners in the Sacramento solar power market the option of paying installation costs over time, like a mortgage, instead of through a loan or lease program.
California Steps Up
Another shot in the arm for solar power came in July, when The California Public Utilities Commissions voted to continue allowing net-metering for residential solar power owners. A huge win for the industry, as it enables homeowners to get credit at retail rates for the excess power they contribute to the overall energy grid.
California Senate leader, Kevin de León, said, “Today’s decision ensures California continues to lead the world on clean energy and solar investment. Creating affordable and extensive access to solar-powered energy is a crucial element of our efforts to combat climate change and reduce air pollution in our communities.”
There are over 1 million homes already experiencing the benefits of solar power across the country, and California and the Sacramento region are leading the efforts in making the clean, renewable energy the primary form of alternative power.
For Sacramento Valley homeowners looking to carve some extra room into their budget, there has never been a better time to make the switch to solar power.