Solar Industry Reps Promise Growth Following California Rebate Plan

By Staff March 1, 2006

Photovoltaics makers are planning for expansion in the wake of an announcement by California regulators in January that the state will offer $3.2 billion in rebates for solar. The plan, which puts California second only to Germany in terms of governmental spending on solar power, will span the next 11 years and could enable the installation of up to 3,000 MW of solar-based generating capacity.

The program includes $2.8 billion in incentives for solar-equipment installation on existing residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural buildings. An additional $400 million will provide incentives for residential builders to incorporate PV into new-home designs.

Solar manufacturers indicated the move could lead to expansions of existing manufacturing facilities, according to interviews reported on the Renewable Energy Access website. The program’s 11-year lifespan is seen as an important contributor to manufacturers’ confidence in the market’s future, interviewees say.

Current bottlenecks in the production of silicon, a key photovoltaics ingredient, could hamper production in the short term, these experts say. However, they add, the resulting increased demand should give silicon producers good reason to boost their output.