Today is a landmark day for clean energy in California. Former Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown celebrated that one million homes and businesses have gone solar, holding hope for a fossil-fuel free future and cleaner air for all.
California generates so much electricity from utility-scale renewables - 12,000 megawatts on a sunny day, for example - that it exports energy to neighboring states, reducing the collective power grid burden for the nation. Particularly in the summertime, the Golden State is often 50 to 93 percent solar energy powered for periods of time. There was even a record set in late May marking the most solar power ever flowing into the state’s grid.
With almost 35 years of experience and a headquarters in Silicon Valley, Ca., we at SunPower are not surprised, though, to see a million solar roofs in California. The state, thanks to support from former Govs. Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature, has been leading the nation in green building policies for years. In 2015 California passed a bill to generate at least 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources. It upped the ante in 2018 by committing to a 100 percent clean energy future by 2045.
As California goes, so goes the nation, and as the Energy Information Administration (EIA) has reported, U.S. use of renewable energies has doubled over the last 10 years while solar panel prices have dropped 60 percent over the same period. In fact, the electricity generation capacity of renewables has for the first time surpassed coal.
After California and North Carolina, Arizona, Nevada and Texas are among the states with the most solar. And kudos are due to the other solar strong states such as New York and its neighbors in the Northeast, where solar is booming. According to Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) data, almost 700,000 homes throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are powered by solar thanks to a number of state and local incentives.
As the leading innovator in solar technology, SunPower has been at the forefront of changing how our world is powered and we are proud that of those 1 million roofs, more than 164,000 of them are our residential and commercial solar customers. We thank them for choosing the highest efficiency and most reliable panels available.
Going solar just makes economic sense. As the No. 1 commercial solar provider the past two years and as one of the top residential solar providers, we’re proud of the part we’ve played in transforming California’s clean energy landscape.
The Future of Solar is Here
We expect California to continue forging new ground with its mandate requiring all newly constructed homes to be net zero energy by 2020, meaning residences must leverage passive and active green building techniques to generate as much energy as they consume. Solar is the most affordable way to achieve this goal, so that means we’re headed toward a world where most of the new homes in the state will have solar panels.
SunPower is already actively facilitating this transition, as we’re a favored solar provider for 18 of the Top 20 new home builders in the nation. And, we’ve installed solar on 45,000 new homes to date.
At today’s event, solar advocates continued looking to the future with a call for one million solar-charged batteries by 2025. As a leading choice among customers, SunPower is proud to enable the rapid growth of smart renewable energy solutions and we look forward to meeting or beating this new goal. This also is timely given the desire of customers of all types -- including homes, schools and businesses -- to avoid the disruptions and losses being caused by utility power shutoffs. We’ve developed leading home and commercial solar storage battery solutions to tackle this challenge and we look forward to working with Gov. Gavin Newsom on establishing the necessary policies to implement this vision.
With solar firmly in the mainstream, we’re aware that we have to make it easier for homeowners to go solar, as easy as shopping online for a home appliance or a new car. We are piloting a new software program that will revolutionize how home solar systems are designed, making it faster and simpler than ever go solar.
Homeowners can now see what solar will look like on their rooftops using SunPower® Design Studio. Just enter in an address and your average monthly electric bill amount to see a customizable solar design and savings estimate in less than a minute. We expect to offer this application nationwide soon.
I’ve never been prouder to be part of a company that’s helping this state and the rest of the nation embrace a cleaner source of energy. It’s great to be part of the solution and to be changing the way California is powered. I look forward to seeing the next million of you join us.
- Solar Helps California Homebuilders Meet Energy Regulations
- Home Solar Design Made Simple
- SunPower Led U.S. Commercial Solar Industry as No. 1 Provider
* Most efficient panels available: Based on datasheet review of websites of top 20 manufacturers per IHS, as of May, 2019. Most reliable panels: Jordan, et. al. Robust PV Degradation Methodology and Application. PVSC 2018