It's been a blazing year for solar power in Mountain View, with residential solar installations tripling from 84 at the start of the year to 247 as of Dec. 12, according to the California Solar Initiative.
The number of residential solar installations for 2007 is larger than for any other city in the state, except San Jose and San Diego.
The boom is in large part due to the efforts of a local solar buyers group, which earlier this year organized the bulk purchase of solar arrays for 118 homes.
"There's been a lot of enthusiasm" among homeowners for solar, said Mayor Laura Macias. She said Mountain View's success has been "astounding" because its total solar-generated power is comparable only to other California cities many times its size.
The spike in residential installations could bolster Mountain View's already high rankings for solar wattage per capita. In July, the NorCal Solar Energy Association reported that Mountain View topped all other large Bay Area cities in this category, bringing in 34 solar watts per resident -- a total of 2,354,096 watts.
Statewide, Mountain View ranks third in the over-50,000 population category, with Napa topping the list at 43 and Pleasanton at 36. By comparison, Palo Alto had 11 watts per capita, Menlo Park had 18 and San Francisco had 6.
Google and Microsoft contributed significantly to the city's watts-per-capita for 2006, with 1,600,000 watts coming from Google's panels and 480,000 from Microsoft's. Even though Google's panels were installed this year, Bruce Karney of SolarCity believes they were counted for 2006.
In terms of total watts produced by a California city, Mountain View ranked eighth. Oakland took the lead with 6,000,000 watts.