California Solar Incentives Could Make a Bigger Impact

Despite being America’s clear solar leader, over the last several years California could have paid the same $2.2 billion to install way more than its 245,000 systems pumping out 2,365 megawatts — if it had simply given them away to the less well off.

Well, maybe San Diego County, whose rooftop solar installation data from 2007-2013 was crunched in Vanderbilt University and Sandia National Labs’ new study, partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and to be published in May’s Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems. Employing a “data-driven agent-based modeling method” (jargon alert!) to analyze 8,500 solar projects in San Diego, the scientists extrapolated that the incentivized California Solar Initiative rebate program could have more significantly increased adoption if it had instead deployed “a carefully optimized program to provide systems to low-income households at little or no cost.”