San Jose Mercury News

California has hit a major milestone in renewable energy: State regulators reported Thursday that more than 1 gigawatt -- or 1,000 megawatts -- of solar power has been installed through the California Solar Initiative, which encourages homeowners, businesses, local governments and nonprofit organizations to install solar panels on their roofs.

San Jose alone has installed 54.6 megawatts on homes and commercial buildings, including those of eBay (EBAY) and San Jose Unified School District, making it California's top solar city. San Diego is a close second, followed 

One megawatt is enough to power 750 to 1,000 homes. But because the sun doesn't shine all the time, solar industry experts say that 1 megawatt of solar can power about 200 households.

Launched in 2007, the California Solar Initiative is an ambitious road map that calls for 1,940 new megawatts of solar power to be installed statewide by 2016. The 1,066 megawatts installed by the end of 2012 put the state more than halfway to that goal.

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