San Jose, Bakersfield and Simi Valley rounded out the top three fastest-growing solar cities in California based on a report released by SunRun and PV Solar Report as part of the Q4 and year end solar sales and installation reports from PV Solar Report. The top ten California cities all demonstrated that they had added more home solar systems in 2011 than other California cities. Lancaster, Fresno, Corona, Murrieta, Rocklin, Hemet and Apple Valley completed the top ten list.

“We thought it was important to not just look at which cities have the most solar installations, but also those that are growing the fastest,” said Stephen Torres, founder and managing director of PV Solar Report. “While Apple Valley may not have the most solar in the state, its solar installation numbers grew by almost 70 percent in 2011.”

SunRun and PV Solar Report advised that cities like San Jose were not a surprise as leaders in California solar cities, but newcomers such as Hemet and Apple Valley have shown that solar projects are expanding to different geographic locations. The report additionally advised that many of the homeowners in the cities cited chose to bring a solar installation to their domain through a solar power service rather than buying the panels. The report specifically cited the top  city, San Jose, as having 648 homeowners choose solar service in 2011, compared to the 312 who purchased their panels.

"The cost of solar is coming down, which makes it more affordable for families in a more diverse range of cities," said SunRun President and Co-founder Lynn Jurich. "At SunRun we’ve also seen solar expand to more median income communities because our service allows homeowners to make the switch for zero or very little money upfront, and they lock in a low rate for clean electricity.”

The top ten list of fastest-growing solar cities is based on the California Solar Initiative’s (CSI) database of residential rebate reservations for the 2011 calendar year with  CSI data being collected from state utilities such as SDG&E, PG&E and SCE.