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San Diego Named California’s Leading Solar City

The  Californian city of San Diego is leading the state in solar capacity, with a record 4,500 rooftop solar power projects installed on residential, commercial and government buildings.

The report, “California’s Solar Cities 2012: Leaders in the Race Toward a Clean Energy Future,” produced by the Environment California Research & Policy Centre, says San Diego also leads the state in terms of the total amount of electricity generated by these systems, measured in solar capacity, with nearly 37 megawatts (MW) installed.

“San Diego is America’s solar city,” said Michelle Kinman, clean energy advocate with Environment California Research & Policy Centre and co-author of the report.

The report states local leadership and positive support for solar energy initiatives pushed San Diego into the number one spot for the second time in two years, doubling the amount of rooftop solar power installed. From 1999 to 2009, over 2000 solar power systems totalling 19MW of solar capacity were installed on buildings in the city.

Mayor Jerry Sanders, along with over 60 elected Californian officials, has endorsed Governor Jerry Brown’s vision of expanding the state’s rooftop solar capacity to 12 gigawatts (GW).

“San Diego didn’t become the state’s No. 1 solar city by happenstance; it was the result of local policies and programs that encourage investment in solar power,” said Mayor Sanders. “Collaborating with leaders in the photovoltaic industry, the building industry, nonprofit partners and our utility, we’ll continue to find new strategies and incentives to that will maintain the strong pace of solar adoption in San Diego.”

The report recommends an expansion of solar credits schemes in California and stronger feed-in tariffs for owners of rooftop solar power on commercial buildings to sell electricity back to the grid, along with a state-wide mandate that all new buildings be equipped with solar energy systems.

The report also shows Los Angeles ranking second in the solar city stakes, with over 4,000 solar installations adding up to more than 36 MW of power generation capacity. San Jose ranks third, with more than 2,700 solar installations and 31 MW of solar electric generation capacity.

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