We sometimes talk about utility-scale solar projects on this blog and how these are helping the state increase its reliance on California solar energy. But that begs the question of whether they’re a better way for the state to expand its solar resources or if the future lies instead with distributed generation and the residential solar energy solutions that West Coast Solar installs on customers’ houses.

Recently, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held an auction for the first of 19 Solar Energy Zones (SEZ), parcels of federal land that have been set aside for fast-tracked development of solar energy projects. These areas have been chosen based on their proximity to transmission lines and the limited environmental impact that such development would have. The government thought that the auction would attract many bidders but, while several developers showed interest, no one actually showed up for the auction.

This by no means represents a failure on the part of BLM, who will be holding auctions on other sites in the near future that could be much more successful in attracting bids. But the SEZ program stands in stark contrast to the California Solar Initiative, which provided solar energy rebates to homeowners who had purchased rooftop PV systems for their houses. The rebates for that law have already been almost entirely distributed, adding 1,859 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity. CSI was set to expire in 2016, but the budget was used up almost four years ahead of schedule.

Given the speed and effectiveness of CSI, it would seem that states such as California could add more solar power by focusing on residential systems, as these can be installed much more quickly and easily than solar installations that cover hundreds of acres.

For more information on how your family can save thousands of dollars by going solar, contact West Coast Solar today.