New web site designed to strengthen solar market in new home construction

Sacramento, CA, April 27, 2006 — The California Energy Commission is launching a new web site encouraging the development of solar power in new residential home construction.

The New Solar Homes Partnership web site is in response to Governor Schwarzenegger’s Million Solar Roofs Initiative to create 3,000 megawatts of solar electricity by the end of 2017. “Solar electricity is an environmentally-friendly energy source that will be a significant part of California’s future energy supply,” commented commissioner Jackalyne Pfannenstiel.

Beginning January 1, 2007, the California Energy Commission will manage a program of about $400 million, complementing the program approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The Energy Commission will work with home builders and the building industry to accelerate the growth of photovoltaics (PV) in new home subdivisions, whereas the CPUC will focus on solar installations on existing residential and commercial buildings. A portion of the program funds will be allocated to special incentives for low-income and affordable housing.

During 2006, residential and small businesses planning to install PV systems less than 30 kilowatts in size can continue to qualify for rebate incentives under the Energy Commission’s Emerging Renewables Program. Currently, the rebate is $2.80 per installed watt.

The new web site will offer information for both the existing rebate program, and for the new partnership. The web site provides search capabilities with solar information for existing homes, new homes, production home builders, schools, government buildings, commercial buildings, apartments, and affordable housing.

“The Energy Commission’s goal is to have reliable and current information available in one place for consumers and home builders,” said Pfannenstiel.

The average household in California uses about 6,500 kilowatt-hours per year, and a PV system in the 3 to 4 kilowatt range would be adequate to meet most electricity needs, said a recent press release from the commission.

As of April 2006, California has over 17,300 grid-connected PV systems installed in California, representing 136 megawatts of power. The CPUC and the Energy Commission are looking to accelerate California’s renewable energy goal of 20 percent procured renewable power by 2010.

The California Energy Commission’s new web site can be viewed at: www.newsolarhomes.ca.gov.

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