What is this indicator?

This indicator is measured by tracking distributed generation from solar in megawatt (MW) capacity.

Why is it important?

The City aims to increase the use of renewable energy and thus, reduce the community’s total amount of greenhouse gas emissions and consumption of fossil fuels. In a region where the sun shines an average of 310 days per year, solar energy is a viable option to increase the amount of energy supplied by renewable sources in Santa Monica.

Despite measurable progress, the majority of Santa Monica’s energy is still supplied by non-renewable sources such as coal and natural gas. These sources generate harmful pollutants during the energy production process, which take a dramatic toll on our environment and population. In contrast, most renewable energy technologies produce little or no pollution and have a low reliance on fossil fuels to support their operations.Increasing the amount of electricity generated from solar energy will help to improve air quality, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and provide a sustainable energy supply for the future. An increase in solar generation will also help meet the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) which aims for a 33% total renewable energy portfolio in California by 2020.

How are we doing?

As of 2018, residents and businesses have installed over 6.3 MW of solar on their rooftops. The falling costs and new financing options have increased the viability of solar in the market. Solar installation needs to increase significantly to reach the 2020 target of 7.5 MW capacity.
Southern California Edison (SCE), Santa Monica’s electrical utility, boasts a renewable portfolio which well exceeds that of the state as a whole: 34% in 2018. Despite the progress toward a larger renewable portfolio, the impact on the grid’s emission factor has been undecided. The closure of SCE’s largest nuclear facility in San Onofre, unexpectedly forced the utility to seek out brown power from various sources.
The City of Santa Monica has taken additional measure to ensure renewable energy access for all residential and commercial energy utility customers. In 2018, the City of Santa Monica joined the Los Angeles Clean Power Alliance. Clean Power Alliance service began on February 1, 2019 for residiential customers and May 1, 2019 for commercial customers. While the Clean Power Alliance has not been servicing customers for a full year yet, so far the percentage of customers receiving 100% renewable energy has been staying above 90% in the first six months. 

How can we help?

Go solar! Solar Santa Monica is a free service for residents and businesses looking to go solar. Solar experts are available to provide you unbiased technical advice to help you navigate the changing rules, incentives and financing options.