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California rooftop solar installations surge; renewable energy approaches oil output, reports say

Solar Renewable sources in the U.S. are starting to produce enough energy to rival oil output, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.

Biomass and biofuels along with geothermal, solar, water and wind-power generation were responsible for nearly 12% of the country’s energy production during the first quarter of the year. That’s nearly 6% more than nuclear’s output and 77% of the amount coming from domestic crude oil, the agency said.

Electricity from wind sources is up 40% from the same period last year, according to the agency. Solar output more than doubled.

The boom is especially evident in California, where the rate of installations for rooftop solar energy systems is on a tear, according to the California Public Utilities Commission.

Homes, businesses, nonprofits and government agencies in the state put in a record 194 megawatts of new solar capacity last year -- 47% more than the amount installed in 2009.

The setups provided power directly to 19,877 sites. Californians have installed a total of 924 megawatts of capacity at nearly 95,000 individual sites through the first quarter of this year.

And with dropping prices, 2011 is expected to be another record year, with 110 megawatts of solar already put in place through mid-June.

RELATED:

Geostellar discovers solar market on rooftops

Incentives to rise for home solar arrays

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: At the Solar Power International 2010 Conference and Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times

 
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