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Written by Chris Meehan


California continues to lead the U.S. in terms of installed solar. But other states are starting to challenge its solar dominance. Case in point, new rulings by the Georgia Public Service Commission are making its largest utility install 100s of megawatts of solar and companies are already starting to work on those projects. Meanwhile California legislation may secure the future of solar there and some major new deals will add more solar to California’s grid in the next two years. But in New Jersey, the second largest solar market, is also adding in more solar.

In the second quarter of 2013 California installed 521 megawatts of solar. That was more than half the overall solar installed in the U.S. And it’s on pace to continue growing, according to a recent NPD Solarbuzz report. In the second half of 2013 it’s anticipated to bring another 1.1 gigawatts of solar power online. Meanwhile the report also contended that the U.S. will install 1.04 gigawatts of solar in the third quarter of 2013.

Meanwhile, across the nation, the solar industry in Georgia is just getting warmed up. The Georgia Public Service Commission decided that the state’s largest utility, Georgia Power has to install more solar. 525 megawatts of solar—with 125 megawatts coming from distributed solar. And already companies are starting to build out their solar projects. For instance, Hannah Solar already is laying the foundation for the first solar farm in Southwest Georgia. While it’s just a 1 megawatt plant, they company also plans on moving forward on other projects under Georgia Power’s Advanced Solar Initiative this year.

While California’s solar market has been the one to beat, the legislation supporting an important arm of the market, the residential sector, is set to expire. Legislation to fix and provide stability to net-metering in the state has been proposed but the bill, AB 327, wasn’t much liked by the solar industry.

However, recent changes to the proposed legislation that make it more friendly to homeowners has garnered some support from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and other solar advocates.

New projects keep coming up in California, too. For instance, Blue Earth recently signed contracts with Talesun Solar USA and New Generation Power to build 165 megawatts of PV projects over a 24 month period, most if not all of which will be in California.

Over in New Jersey the Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (PSE&G) is preparing to launch its Solar Loan III solicitations. The solicitations will lock in the price of solar renewable energy credits for commercial solar installations. In all it’s looking to support the development of 97.5 megawatts of commercial solar over the next two to three years through the program. But since the contracts for the solar projects are for a longer term—10 years, it adds a predictable revenue stream for the projects, making it easier for people to invest in such projects.