Yes, you read that headline correctly. In 2013, California managed to double its rooftop solar installations to 2,000 megawatts. It took the state over 30 years to install the first 1,000 megawatts of rooftop solar capacity, according to Bernadette Del Chiaro from the California Solar Energy Industries Association.
Del Chiaro points out that if California continues to grow its rooftop solar market at a similar pace to 2013, it could top 5,000 MW in 2014. This would far exceed the goals of Million Solar Roofs Initiative, which looked to install 3,000 MW of rooftop solar capacity by the end of 2016.
This increasingly impressive rooftop solar capacity doesn’t factor-in utility-scale solar projects. If these are included, California’s solar power capacity has already surpassed 4,000 MW. Del Chiaro notes that this amounts to almost twice as much installed capacity as California’s last remaining nuclear power plant.
Of course it’s not only California that is experiencing somewhat of a solar installation boom. Bloomberg has reported that around 200,000 homes and business across the United States have installed rooftop solar in just the past two years. That amounts to about 3 gigawatts of power, which is enough to replace 4 to 5 conventionally-sized coal-fired power plants. What’s more, as I reported yesterday, 2014 is tipped to be a huge year for new solar power worldwide.