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California ranks among top six solar states

The Environment America Research and Policy Center names California as a leader in solar energy.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

SACRAMENTO -- California ranks sixth among the top 12 states in per-capita installations of solar electric energy generators, according to a just-released report by an advocacy group.

“Lighting the Way,” the study by the Environment America Research and Policy Center, names California as a leader among the 50 states, along with Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina and Vermont.

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“The sky’s the limit on solar energy,” said Michelle Kinman, clean energy advocate for Environment California, one of the group’s 29 state affiliates. “California’s progress should make us confident that we can do much more.”

Nationally, solar power is expanding rapidly, the report says, with solar voltaic panel capacity three times greater than what it was in 2010 and 10 times as much as 2007.

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Though California ranks in the middle of the top 12 when measured on a per-capita basis, the Golden State holds No. 1 positions in two other important measurements, the report notes.

It leads in cumulative solar-electric installations with 2,900 megawatts and in photo-voltaic installations for last year alone with 1,033 megawatts.

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Solar power is playing an important role in helping California meet a legal target that it generate a third of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, the report said.

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