It looks like San Francisco and San Diego are off on a race to be the leading cities for generating energy from the sun, after they both announced ambitious programs to increase solar generation by anywhere from 5 to almost 20 times current city levels.
San Diego unveiled in February a 1.135 megawatt solar plant, and the city said it plans to bump that up to 5 megawatts on other city facilities by 2013. The installation, at its Alvarado Water Treatment plant, is owned and operated by Maryland-based SunEdison at no upfront cost to the city.
San Francisco, currently with the largest city-owned single solar site in the nation with 675 kilowatts of solar operating at Moscone Center that was installed by SunPower (then PowerLight), announced it wants to increase its solar output to more than 35 megawatts from its current total of about 2 megawatts.
New legislation now allows the city to more easily tap a 2001 voter-approved $100 million solar bond, that was a direct reaction to the California's horrific 2000-2001 rolling blackouts. Turns out those rolling blackies were not caused by lack of generating capacity--which was the big myth perpetrated by DC and the media--but were the direct result of Enron and other energy trading companies' gaming the power market.
Whatever. There's more than enough sun, even in foggy San Francisco, to produce a great deal of non-polluting electricity while stimulating regional economic development in clean technologies.
Hello, Phoenix? Other Sun Belt cities?
On Tuesday (11-11:50 a.m.), I'll be presenting an analysis of California city sustainability at the first Green California Summit, being held at the Sacramento Convention Center. Stop on by if you're at the event, which is shaping up to be a Hootenanny for state and local government and business leaders on all things green.
As far as solar goes, Sacramento is no slouch, as it leads the nation in combined individual business and residential solar installations, mostly because of Sacramento Municipal Utility District's (SMUD) efforts.