California has become a leader in the development of renewable energy principally due to technology, policy, and capital. Therefore, California attracted the most energy patents, with many being in the solar development category. California is considered to be an early adopter when it comes to renewable energy, allowing other states to implement the initiated policies the state has put in place. According to research compiled on city-level clean-tech initiatives in 2012, California was home to five out of the top seven clean-tech metro areas. San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Diego were the five Californian cities that were named in the top seven clean-tech leadership metro areas.
On top of being a leader in clean-tech, California has played a key role in mainstreaming renewables in the United States. Two years ago, states received 10% of electricity from renewables, compared to 22% today. Although Solar is rapidly growing and has been attracting a lot of attention in the renewable energy industry, it still accounts for less than 2% of energy generated in the United States.
With the help from the decreasing price of solar panels and solar financing solutions, the solar industry had its second straight outstanding year in terms of growth. The amount of solar arrays installed in the United States grew by 76% equaling 3,313 megawatts (MW). In addition, California became the first state to successfully install over 1,000MW within one year.
In addition to their success in solar photovoltaic (PV) installations, California was the top state for its leadership role in the development of clean electricity, energy efficiency, investment attraction and policy innovation. Although California invested $2.2 billion into renewable energy, Massachusetts took the title for being the leader in venture capital dollars spent on clean energy.