Power Town: California's Capital Region Mobilizing to Meet Growing Demand for Clean Technologies

New Next 10 study reports that Sacramento regional innovators are using their close proximity to the capital to leverage state incentives and mandates to accelerate adoption of clean technologies.

New data shows that residential solar grew six-fold between 2007 and 2013, while the region has incubated a vibrant group of clean tech companies, including a waste-to-energy company that developed the nation's first commercial-scale closed loop anaerobic digester project. The findings also indicate non-residential buildings in the region are not only more energy efficient on a per capita basis compared to the state overall, they're also becoming ever more efficient at a faster rate. As of January 2014, the region had 14,000 "core" clean energy jobs.

The publicly owned utility—Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD)—is identified as a catalyst for growing the clean energy economy. Among SMUD’s initiatives: a 20 percent renewable portfolio standard, a special rate program for electric vehicle drivers, and a $300 million smart grid project.

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  • Installed solar is seeing healthy growth in the region.
    • The six-fold climb in residential solar adoption in Sacramento can be traced to a number of factors including local policies, consumer demand, and the shifting housing market.
  • Sacramento demonstrates strength in home energy efficiency technologies adoption, development of waste-to-energy technologies, and electric vehicle deployment.
  • Solar is experiencing a healthy boost in Sacramento.
  • The high demand for solar installation, driven by local and state policies, has prompted the growth of solar technology companies.
  • Sacramento is unique in being home to many companies with cost effective waste-to-energy technologies operating at a commercial scale.
  • UC Davis is a major driver of research and development as well as commercialization of clean technologies.