Saturday, March 29, 2008

The perfect match: Southern California and Solar Energy

This is great news: Southern California Edison is going to build 250MW of distributed photovoltaic solar energy across Riverside and San Bernardino counties on top of large commercial buildings. These are inland valleys that get little marine fog and lots and lots of sun. The power company will own the panels and sell the power back to the commercial sites that host the panels, providing distributed power. It helps solve the great bottleneck of transmission between the power sources in northern California and the heavy A/C users in the south. The only caveat is that the inland valleys are also generally the smoggiest places in L.A. Improving the air quality will also improve the energy yield, but generally the smog is from automotive sources instead of coal plants--the coal plants that Southern California Edison use are all further east, polluting the desert.

Let's expand this to all the sunny cities of the desert: Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, Albquerque, El Paso, and yes, even San Diego and Los Angeles. Let's even just start with solar water heating.

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