Area: 423,970 km²
Population: 37.2 Million
Share of renewable energies in the electricity consumption: 20.6%
Installed capacity of photovoltaic: 1,406 MW
In South-West of the USA lies the most densely populated state of the country – California – with more than 37,2 inhabitants. The capital of California is Sacramento. The biggest city of California is by far Los Angeles with around 3,8 million residents. Additionally, San Francisco counts to the most popular cities of California.
Expected increase in the number of big-scale PV projects
The biggest photovoltaic market in the United States
California is the 8th biggest economy in the world. Many institutes and universities of this region have focused their research on renewable energies. At the moment the installed capacity of photovoltaic systems amounts to 1,406 MW. However, there are altogether 15 GW of installations in the planning or building phase. Within this capacity there are mostly big-scale projects of 1MWp or more.
Within the USA, California is the biggest market for photovoltaic. Next to the biggest installed capacity of PV, there are numerous factories and manufacturing plants of photovoltaic modules and systems.
Directives for energy providers of renewable energies
California has imposed directives on its energy providers, determining the share of renewable energies in their total electricity production. Until 2020, the energy concerns have to produce 33% of its electricity for renewable energy sources. There are two intermediate levels defined: 20% has to be reached already by 2013, and 25% by 2016. This directive is called Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).
However, the energy providers can partially cover the required percentage by purchasing renewable energy from electrical power station through the so-called Tradable Renewable Energy Credits (TRECs). Nonetheless, the share of energy bought in such way cannot exceed 25% by 2013 and 10% by 2017 of the entire renewable energies’ share required by RPS.
Feed-In-Tariffs and financial support
Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Photography by Niewiroski Jr.
The Feed-in-Tarifs (FiTs) in California, determined by the California Public Utilities Comission (CPUC), allow the private owners of renewable energy power stations with the capacity up to 3 megawatts to enter FIT contracts of 10, 15 and 20 years. The produced electricity will be sold on the basis of market-determined price – Re-Mat (Renewable Market Adjustment Tariff). The starting bid lies at $89.23 (€68.2234) per megawatt hour (MWh).
Public energy producers, which have more than 75,000 customers, have to additionally implement the feed in tariffs programmes until 1st July 2013 according to the given directives. These compensation tariffs are available until the cumulative capacity of 750MW (equally for private as well as public generating plants) is reached. Bio-energy has its own allowed capacity of 250MW, but only from the private users.
Further programmes and campaigns
The Go Solar California! campaign supports all sorts of solar energy generating plants through various discounts and subsidies with a total budget of $ 3.3 billion (€ 2.52 billion). Additionally there are numerous financing possibilities for renewable energies offered by different programmes and institutions.
On top of that many cities, communes and regions in California offer countless discounts as well as aid and support schemes for renewable energies.
Series Photovoltaic in the USA:
1. Photovoltaic in the United States of America (USA) – An Introduction
3. New Jersey
Sources : DSIRE, Treehugger, Acore.org