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Spring is in the air

…and the California solar market is sending up some extraordinary green shoots.

Check out the recent California Solar Initiative activity:

http://www.californiasolarstatistics.ca.gov/reports/4-28-2010/ApplicationStatsByMonth.html

As you see, rebate reservations for the California Solar Initiative have absolutely exploded in the past 2 months.  Last month was a record with 54.5 MW.  And this month blows it away, with about 92 MW to date.

Couple of things going on here, as far as I can tell.

  • We are nearing some incentive level drops, with always induces people to get reservations in at the higher level
  • The cash-grant-in-lieu of ITC program sunsets end of year, folks are scrambling to make sure they can use it
  • Financing is finally freeing up
  • As PV programs in Europe face some headwinds (see press around Spain and others), module mnfs are scrambling for market share, and pricing accordingly
  • California PV developers are getting very good at low cost installations—the product of long-term, sustainable policy to build a local market and workforce
  • This is what happens when solar gets cheap

We may see some of these reservations drop out if they didn’t get the higher incentives, but all in all, really an extraordinary growth story.

Note that this is all behind the meter stuff.  There’s tons more activity going on in the wholesale side (SCE standard offer program maxed at 140 MW of PV, Sacramento Municipal Utilities District doing 100 MW of PV under 14 cent/kWh feed-in tariff, both PG+E and SCE with 500 MW wholesale PV programs approved and off to the races, etc).

But that’s another story.