15 Reasons Why Los Angeles is One of the Fastest Growing Solar Cities

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Real Estate Agent with Daily Real Estate Update
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Los Angeles is one of those cities that tends to see strong growth in every area of industry due to the sheer density of the population and the number of affluent residents that live in the area. In keeping with the region's tendency to post dominant metrics in every sector from entertainment to technology, L.A. isn't just home to the shining stars of Hollywood, it's also leading the country in shiny solar panel installations. Is this just another part of the City of Angels flexing its superiority over the rest of society? Or, are there other factors that have contributed to L.A.'s massive solar growth in recent years? We've conducted an in-depth investigation to determine exactly why L.A. is one of the fastest growing solar cities. Here are the top 15 reasons we came up with:

1. It Has One of the Highest Potentials for Active Solar Generation

With Los Angeles county covering such a large land mass and encompassing so many towns and cities, there are literally millions of rooftops that can be used for solar power generation. To be exact, there are more than 3.5 million housing units within the county. Then, you also have to consider that there are roughly 250,000 businesses in that same region, many of which have rooftop space that could be used for solar. 

All of this potential has created a bustling market in which the leading local solar installation providers such as Semper Solaris are seeing unprecedented growth. As one of the top solar providers in L.A., Semper Solaris (found at https://sempersolaris.com/) has positioned itself as a leader in the city's solar boom by offering panels that are made in America and backed by a 50-year platinum protection warranty. 


2. California is Requiring Solar on All New Homes Built After 2020

On January 1st, 2020, California will become the first state to require that all newly built homes be equipped with solar panel systems that are sufficient to fulfill the electricity needs of the proposed number of inhabitants. Of course, since Los Angeles is the state's most populous city, any investor or entrepreneur that has their hands in the solar industry is going to be looking to cash in on the coming photovoltaic gold rush. 

Just think about how many homes are going to be built during the next decade in a city that already has a population of nearly 4 million within the city limits alone, and millions more in the surrounding greater Los Angeles area. With of all of the new homes that will require solar, there will be plenty of new solar companies in Los Angeles that spring up to cater to the demand. 

3. Almost 300 Days of Sunlight Per Year on Average

Los Angeles receives 284 sunny days per year, with sunny years regularly exceeding 300 days of full sun. With all of that solar energy just beaming down onto a bustling metropolis that just so happens to need that energy to continue operating, it only makes sense that regulators, contractors, and homeowners are incentivized to capture the sun's rays and convert them into usable electricity for the benefit of residents and businesses. 

Obviously, this single metric – days of sunlight per year – has to be separately noted within the top 3 reasons behind the city's rapid expansion in solar power potential, as it's highly unlikely that a cloudy city would ever reach anywhere near the level of solar output that L.A. has seen. 

4. The City is Trying to Reduce Its Pollutive Footprint

While the City of Angels certainly has a fancy name and a glamorous Hollywood reputation to match, it doesn't exactly have a squeaky-clean reputation when it comes to environmental impact. In fact, it has ranked as the worst city in the U.S. in terms of smog density for many years. 

The way air currents are hindered by the surrounding mountain ranges serves to trap much of the city's pollution, creating a very smoggy situation. In response to carrying that reputation for so long, it completely makes sense that L.A.'s authorities and regulators would want to take steps to offset its negative environmental impact, and switching to solar is the easiest and most cost-effective way to achieve that. 

5. The Density of Residential and Commercial Properties

With nearly 4 million homes in the greater Los Angeles area, there's no shortage of rooftops that can hold new solar installations. While there is no exact figure for how much roof space there is in this region, one would have to imagine that the city could become an adequate hub for regional power generation if even 50% of those roofs were utilized for solar. 

Right now, solar power provides about 16% of the California's electricity and L.A. falls right in line with that statistic. By 2025-2030, we should be approaching a situation in which more than half of the homes in Los Angeles county are equipped with solar systems of some sort. 

6. L.A. Homeowners Get Tax Write-offs and Subsidization for Solar Installations

With the state providing tax incentives for homeowners who install solar panels, that's just another perk that is contributing to the growth of the local solar industry. The state's solar investment tax credit (ITC) also lifted the previous limit, which used to be set at a $2,000 maximum tax credit per project but is now set at 30% of the project cost with no limit at all. For example, if an L.A. homeowner installs a $20,000 solar setup, they'd receive a tax credit of about $6,000. 

With such subsidy programs already providing a decent incentive and politicians discussing the implementation of even more monetary discounts and returns, it's likely that more investors will factor these credits into their budgeting equation when determining the cost of solar panels in Los Angeles. 

7. The Cost of Living and Doing Business in L.A. is Already High

Property and business owners who chose to live and operate within the boundaries of Los Angeles are already facing a higher-than-average cost of living by choosing to stay in such a prestigious and densely populated area. Opting for solar instead of grid power presents a saving opportunity that is quite significant when added up over the course of a 30-year mortgage. 

When your budget is already higher than it would be in other locations, it's only logical to look for ways to reduce ongoing expenses, and electricity is one of those bills that will never go away unless you have a solar setup. 

8. The Eco-Friendly Crowd is Big in Southern California

Everyone knows that California as a whole has been making a push towards environmentally friendly and consumer conscious legislature in recent years. This shift has been led by many of the Silicon Valley companies that have been switching to renewable energy sources, such as Cupertino-based Apple which now runs on 100% green energy. 

With so many entrepreneurs and property owners who are trying to take steps to protect the environment, it's only fitting that L.A. would be the home of such an ecologically oriented movement. 

9. L.A. Already Has the Most Installed Solar Panels of Any U.S. City

L.A. isn't just the fastest growing solar city in terms of expansion; it's already the leader in terms of solar panel counts as well with more than 349.3 megawatts of installed solar photovoltaic capacity. Interestingly, 2.2 of the megawatts come from a single massive solar installation that sits atop the Los Angeles Convention Center. The second closest city is also in Southern California – it's San Diego with 287 megawatts. 

According to the 2018 Shining Cities Report, the solar power that the city is producing is capable of providing electricity for almost 83,000 homes. However, the largest solar panel installation in the city is the Westmont project, which produces more than 16 megawatts, or enough to power 5,000 homes.

10. Contractors Recognize the Demand and Opportunity

With all of those homes that still haven't been equipped with solar and an industry that is set to explode within the next five years, any contractor with some sense can see that there is a huge opportunity to launch a lucrative solar-related business in the L.A. area. Wise business people pay attention to legislation and new headlines to anticipate conditions that will be favorable in their niche. 

Where there is a demand, there will always be industry, especially when you're talking about a portion of the energy sector that has unavoidable disruptive potential. There's no doubt that solar is the future, so it's only fitting that Southern California would be leading the way as the progressive area that it's known for being in terms of entertainment and technology. 

11. L.A. is a Marketing Mecca

Regardless of which industry you operate in, you're practically guaranteed to find some level of success in L.A. You have to remember that people come from other countries as immigrants and wind up starting lucrative businesses in the city. With that in mind, how much easier is it for an 

American-based solar contractor in L.A. to find success when providing a product that every new home in the state is going to be required to have as of next year?

12. L.A. Leads California in Housing Development

Los Angeles housing developers built more than 16,500 units during 2018 alone. That's three times more than any other Californian city during the same timeframe, according to a report from the California Department of Finance. Interestingly enough, during the same time the city only gained about 2,000 new residents – a remarkable level of stability for such a heavily populated city. Many cities in California are seeing declining populations because housing prices have become so unaffordable. 

13. The Governor Wants to Build 3.5 Million Homes in California by 2025

California's current governor, Gavin Newsom, has issued a plan to solve California's housing crisis, which involves building 3.5 million new homes in the state by 2025. Since every home built after Jan 1 2020 will need to have solar panel systems installed, if the state can come anywhere near its goal, we'll be seeing a couple million new homes with solar installations. With the city being one of the few areas that is still growing in population and remaining a prime target for developers, a decent percentage of all that growth should happen in the L.A. area. 

14. Statewide Housing Shortage Means California Needs to Build an Extra 100,000 Homes Per Year

While Los Angeles county saw plenty of development in the past two years, the rest of the state is facing a lack of residential construction in many areas. If Governor Newsom's plan is carried out successfully, the state will be seeing more than 500,000 new homes built every year. That should be more than enough to solve the housing shortage – a problem that has hit L.A. hard. 

15. The City's Residential Construction Industry is Thriving

With a governmental plan in action to build as many new houses as possible, it's reasonable to assume that much of that growth would have to be centered in the L.A. area with the incentive being lower-than-average sales prices for the newly built homes. In other words, if you develop a bunch of new properties in L.A. and put them on the market at affordable prices, you'd probably see an influx of home buyers ready to jump on those deals. Considering the locational appeal that L.A. carries, dropping the price would be enough to quickly attract hordes of homebuyers.  

Building a Home in L.A. without Solar Panels Won't Be an Option Much Longer

As mentioned in reason #2 above, California's requirement that all homes built in the state after Jan 1 2020, combined with the unavoidable demand and housing shortage in Los Angeles county, means that there are inevitably going to be at least 1-3 million Californian homes equipped with solar during the next 10 years, or more if state's governor achieves the initiative's objective. When you consider all of those factors together, it's easy to see why L.A. currently is, and probably will remain, the fastest growing solar city in America.
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