PV Stats from California

Grid-Connected Solar Photovoltaic Installed Capacity in California

Came across some PV data on the CEC (California Energy Commission) website that I thought worth sharing.


Forecasting based solely on historical growth rates typically leads to overaggressive and mostly inaccurate results absent learning rates, annual and cum capacity limits and other constraining assumptions (especially in light of current market conditions for renewable energy), but a quick look at a couple of CAGRs from this data is still interesting.

Cumulative capacity growth rates for PV solar in CA:

  • 1998-2008 – 53% CAGR
  • 2003-2008 – 50% CAGR

Annual Growth Rate:

  • 2000-2008 - 78% CAGR

If cum capacity growth rates were to maintain their CAGR of the past 10 years, California would have 3.7 GW installed by 2013, and 30.7 GW installed by 2018.  If annual growth rates were to maintain CAGR of past 8 years, California would have 6.6 GW installed by 2013, and 115 GW installed by 2018.

Of course, maintaining this kind of growth rate is extremely difficult past a certain cum installed capacity (ask any maturing industry), and highly unlikely.  I put together a quick chart on growth rates in various technologies a few months back that demonstrates this (breakdown of years into categories is of course highly arbitrary):



Still, the CAGRs in California demonstrate the the incredible PV solar growth being seen there …as well as the fact that we’re approaching a large enough installed base to where even partially maintaining these kinds of growth rates would result in very significant solar deployment.