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California Bay Area Solar Market Analysis

Avatar for Dave Llorens
Published on 04/16/2008 in
Updated 04/16/2008

Bay Area Solar Map

We’ve noticed that there’s been quite a bit of chatter and advertising dollars thrown into solar in the bay area over the past year or so. For instance, we were just at a San Francisco Giants game last week and couldn’t help but notice the numerous PGE ads for their solar installation at AT&T park urging homeowners to consider the switch to solar. Glitzy ads from large oil companies (ahem, right right, “energy companies”) also emblazoned large billboards with solar elements. Well, the incentives in California are so good, that we started to wonder how many homeowners out of total in the bay area are already on board. So, it’s time for some good ol’ fashioned data analysis of the Bay Area residential solar market. The figures below were generated from data sourced by one of Dave’s colleagues. See the sources below for more info on their lineage.

As you can see from the image above, Contra Costa county accounts for just about half of the solar installs in the bay area over the past 3 years. The other counties pale in comparison. However, you can see from the chart below that there is a substantial way to go to penetrate the rest of the bay area market. While Contra Costa county does account for half of those installs, consider that that county is only about 2% saturated!

Key Assumptions

1. Size, Installed Price and # of installs numbers based on solar installs from 11/05 -1/08 –See

2. Population and Households data based on 2006 ACS Census estimates –See
for details

3. Penetration calculated as % of households with solar.

Last modified: April 16, 2008

5 thoughts on “California Bay Area Solar Market Analysis

  1. Avatar for Jackie Evans Jackie Evans says:

    AS above.

  2. Avatar for Jackie Evans Jackie Evans says:

    I live in Berkeley, want to put a solar roof on my house this summer (and replace the old roof). I want half to charge batteries and half to go to the grid and or turn back my meter. There are too many companies, who is really dependable?
    Also why does California not buy back for a lesser fee than they charge all electricity generated like New York instead of just letting your meter go down?

  3. Avatar for David Llorens David Llorens says:

    Hi Dave,

    The source of the data is noted in the post itself.


  4. Avatar for Solar Dave Solar Dave says:

    I love those charts. I am thinking about charts like this in my state of Colorado from my blog.

    Where did you get the database of info from?

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