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California is pushing to increase its investment in solar power, setting a lofty goal of 3,000 megawatts of power by 2017. Last year, the state boosted its solar installations 26 percent over 2011. That’s an additional 391 mW of power. All told, that brings the state’s total solar capacity to 1,629 mW, which is enough to power 150,000 homes.

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The increase is due in part to a well-funded rebate program in the state, the largest of its kind in the US, and the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, which helps ease the cost of investment. The program also makes it easier for single-family homes to get in on the solar power investment with a low-income initiative. This alone accounts for 8.5 mW of capacity.

But even as the rebate program scales back, consumers remain very interested in solar power. This is no doubt partially driven by California’s well publicized utility woes, including the closure of the notoriously unsafe San Onofre nuclear power plant. Whatever the reason, investments continue to increase and the state is now 66 percent of the way toward its goal, and there is already 19 percent more solar power on the way in pending projects.

via LA Times

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