The California Public Utilities Commission recently released a report on the California Solar Initiative (CSI) highlighting the program’s tremendous success. In 2007, California kicked off the CSI program with the goal of installing nearly 2000 mega watts of solar power by 2016 through rebates to homes and businesses that install new systems. Despite current economic woes, CSI is already 42% of the way there in only 3 years.
Demand for solar energy continues to rise, creating clean-energy jobs along the way and decreasing the cost of solar energy systems. Photovoltaic systems of smaller than 10 kilowatts cost about 15% less compared to 2007 (adjusted for inflation). Bringing costs down was one key goal of the CSI program.
CSI’s success demonstrates that renewable energy programs can be successful even in times of economic hardship. CSI has not only created jobs and reduced the cost of solar energy, but also provided long-term environmental and health benefits.