In California, at least, rooftop solar installations aren’t just for the rich anymore.
Sunible, a new California solar installer started by market research and data firm PV Solar Report, released a report this week ranking the top 25 California cities with the fastest growing solar energy markets.
About 80 percent of California’s top 25 solar cities are less affluent inland communities, which could come as a surprise to anyone who thinks of solar as an expensive investment.
“While many people might think of California’s major metropolitan areas as the forefront of new industry growth and innovation, adoption of new technologies like solar reaches far beyond these hubs,” according to a release from solar service provider Sunrun.
Families are installing rooftop solar arrays throughout California, regardless of average income in the area.
“Many of the cities leading solar adoption in California are not the most affluent in the state,” according to the report. “They are median-income communities like Fresno, Clovis, El Cajon and Chico.”
Fresno, which ranks third on the list, has an average median income of a little more than $41,000.
“A key driver of this inland growth is third-party-owned solar,” according to the release from Sunrun.
Third-party-owned, also referred to as solar leasing and solar power service, allows homeowners to install solar on their roofs with no money down and pay a contracted price for the power the solar panels produce. The contract typically also provides ongoing maintenance for the solar systems.
Installation of third-party solar energy systems more than doubled between the first quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, according to the release. And in some cities, like Chico, third-party systems led a 153 percent increase in solar adoption.
“In these top cities, residents are taking control of their electricity costs while doing something good for the planet and their families,” according to the release.
California’s top 25 Solar Cities include:
1) San Diego
4) Los Angeles
5) San Jose
11) Palm Springs
12) El Cajon
13) Santa Clarita
14) Apple Valley
17) Rancho Mirage
19) Palm Desert
25) Rancho Cucamonga