Did you know El Cajon is leading the way for home solar in California? In a report issued today from Sunible, El Cajon ranks #12 on the list of Top 25 cities in the state for home solar adoption. In fact, El Cajon’s home solar installs have grown 50% from 2012 to 2013. Here, residents are taking control of their electricity costs while doing something good for the planet and their families!
Additionally, the report from Sunible, a company started by solar market data resource PV Solar Report, reveals 80% of California’s top 25 Solar Cities* are inland communities and not the wealthiest areas of the state (full list below). For a visual of where the growth is, see an infographic here.
While many people might think of California’s major metropolitan areas as the forefront of new industry growth and innovation – such as Los Angeles and arts/entertainment/design or Silicon Valley and technology – adoption of new technologies like solar reaches far beyond these hubs. Sunible notes that many of the cities leading solar adoption in California are not the most affluent in the state. They are median-income communities like El Cajon, Fresno, Clovis, and Chico. And this growth is happening while state incentives for solar have steadily declined to almost zero since 2008, according to a recent update on the California Solar Initiative (these incentives give homeowners rebates for an installed system, helping to cover the cost of the panels).
A key driver of this inland growth is third-party-owned (TPO) solar, as Sunible’s data shows. Also called solar power service, TPO solar means a provider like Sunrun, the nation’s leading home solar company, owns, maintains and insures solar panels on a homeowner's roof. Homeowners pay little to no money upfront for the panels, avoid the responsibilities of ownership, and save money on electricity bills. In the top cities like El Cajon that have showed the most growth since 2008, third-party-owned solar has increased substantially. For example, the average percentage increase in third-party ownership across these cities is more than 104% from Q1 2012 to Q1 2013.
Sunrun pioneered the solar service model in 2007 and now installs nearly $2 million in solar equipment every day. This innovative model means more homeowners, across incomes, can benefit from going solar.
California’s top 25 Solar Cities include:
1) San Diego
4) Los Angeles
5) San Jose
11) Palm Springs
12) El Cajon
13) Santa Clarita
14) Apple Valley
17) Rancho Mirage
19) Palm Desert
25) Rancho Cucamonga
“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,” said 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 the number-one state for home solar installations, according to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), with residential installations up 39% in Q1 2013 over Q4 2012. Additionally, third-party-owned systems now account for over 50% of all new residential installations in most major residential markets across the nation, including California, Arizona, Colorado and Massachusetts. A cornerstone policy for this growth and continued solar expansion is net metering, which gives rooftop solar customers full retail credit for the energy they put back on the grid.
*California’s top 25 cities were determined by number of installations completed between Q1 2012 and Q1 2013 according to California Solar Initiative and other data.