March 27, 2008

Solar Needs Space, Good Thing We Have It!

I hear a lot of moaning from the anti-solar crowd about how much space it takes to build a truly powerful plant (I'll refrain from saying the obvious about how Death Valley really isn't that useful anyway, oops I guess I did say it). Anyway, what about this idea? On all of those commercial big box buildings lets put solar cells on the roofs to turn that into a productive space.

Well less than a year after announcing it would build the biggest solar project in the world, California is poised to take an even larger chunk of the renewable pie and produce 250-megawatts of power from rooftop installations.

The project will be distributed among many commercial rooftops, starting with southern California's Inland Empire, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The 250-megawatt goal is 170 more megawatts than was planned in the Cleantech installation.

Beginning in August the plan is to install 1 megawatt a week until 65,000,000 square feet of commercial rooftop space is supplying power to the equivalent of 162,000 homes. The total cost will be $825M and is expected to take 5 years to complete.

"These are the kinds of big ideas we need to meet California's long-term energy and climate change goals," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "I urge others to follow in their footsteps. If commercial buildings statewide partnered with utilities to put this solar technology on their rooftops, it would set off a huge wave of renewable energy growth."

This will go a long way towards California's mandate that 20% of the electricity used by generated through renewable means by 2010.

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