We reported recently on the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report, published by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Greentech Media (GTM), which showed the massive, accelerating growth of the solar industry has continued into the first quarter of 2013. What was even better news was that California is leading this expansion, having added 71.3 megawatts (MW) of new solar generating capacity in Q1. But one of the more interesting aspects of this number is that 13.2 MW of those new installations were completed without any state rebates.

This is important because much of the criticism directed at the solar industry by opponents of renewable energy is that it is a sector propped up by government policies, and that the removal of these incentives would cause demand to collapse. In fact, the truth is that more Californians are discovering what scientists, solar customers and lawmakers already know, which is that photovoltaic panels provide an economically viable and environmentally responsible method of producing electricity.

According to Shayle Kann of GTM, 13.2 MW is enough electricity to power 50,000 homes. Given that the price of solar panels continues to fall, it stands to reason that this pace will continue and California could add enough solar installations, unsupported by solar rebates, to provide electricity to 200,000 residences.

Something to keep in mind is that, as Bay Area solar options become more popular, we should see these trends accelerate. Electricity provided by natural gas and coal, though still the two main sources across the nation, will become less competitive because of fluctuating prices and the environmental costs of these technologies.

If you’re interested in finding out how you can join the thousands of California residents who have discovered the advantages of solar energy, contact West Coast Solar today.