This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

August 25, 2004

California Plans to Install Solar Power on One Million Homes

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled a plan on August 20th to install solar power systems on one million homes by 2017. The Million Homes Plan initially starts with the state's current incentives for solar power, but beginning in 2008, home builders will offer solar power as an option in any subdivision that has 25 houses or more. Customers who install solar power systems will pay a time-of-use rate, which can result in added savings, and will also be able to sell excess power back to the utility at the retail rate, a process known as net metering. See the governor's press release.

Solar power is already proving popular in San Diego County, where 1,500 customers have connected renewable energy systems to the power grid. According to San Diego Electric and Gas (SDG&E), only 11 customers applied for net-metering connections in 1999, but by 2003, that number grew to 535. More than 450 net metering applications have been filed so far this year. See the SDG&E press release.

If the concept of a million solar homes sounds familiar, you're probably thinking of the DOE-led Million Solar Roofs Initiative. Announced in June 1997, that initiative aims to install either solar power or solar thermal systems on one million U.S. roofs by 2010. As of last year, the initiative had yielded at least 200 megawatts of solar energy installations, including 40 megawatts of solar power, with 822 partners throughout the country helping to advance the initiative's goals. See the Million Solar Roofs Web site.