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San Diego-California’s Leading Solar City

A report issued by the Sacramento-based Environment California Research & Policy Center declared San Diego as the leader in the State of California both in the amount of solar energy generation through photovoltaic panels and in the number of solar panel installations. According to the report, the city made an enormous advance from a mere seven solar roofs a decade back to around 2,262 installations that are capable of generating nearly 20 megawatts of electricity today. To quote the city’s energy czar, Tom Blair, “In 2001, we have a chart that shows there were basically no (solar power) installs. And you can see how the graph just climbs dramatically. In the last couple of years, the installs have gone astronomical.”

The statistics reveal that the city of San Diego leads the list with around 2,262 installations while Los Angeles has around 1,388 installations and the lowest in the ranking is Berkeley that witnessed around 648 installations. “We’re really excited by what the top ranking says about San Diego,” said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. “The city committed to using more renewable energy at our own facilities and putting policies in place that would encourage our residents and businesses to adopt solar energy. Our No. 1 spot is a reflection of that decision to be leaders in clean energy.”

The generation of 19.4 megawatts of solar energy by the city that can approximately power 12,000 homes has been on account of the following reasons by the report’s author Del Chiaro and the City officials. The luxury offered by the warm bright sun is stated as the primary reason for the rise seen in the installations.  The presence of the Kearny Mesa headquarters for the California Center for Sustainable Energy that has made a constant effort to promote solar generation through the assistance offered by the government rebates and other means, and the City Hall’s fast-tracking permitting for the projects are the other causes responsible for the spurt in the solar energy generation in the City.

Sander’s announcement to come with a new legislature that can finance the solar installations through a 20-year low-interest loan program by the municipalities have received a warm applaud from the people. The pilot program will get inaugurated with the participation of 500 people in the fall. The easy payment of the loan through the property tax bills is another highlight of the program.

The State of California’s dream of 1 million solar roofs by the year 2017, have reached a figure of 50,000 rooftops as of today. Though the target seems unrealistic, the advocates of the program are confident of their ability to reach the benchmark. “Our (solar) market has been growing by roughly 50 percent compounded annually,” Del Chiaro said. “If we maintain our annual growth rate, we will hit the million solar roofs goal.”

With the Alvarado Water Treatment Plant playing a major role in the 15 solar-power systems installed that can produce about 1.2 megawatts, and the City Council’s approval for the additional 800 kilowatt at the Otay Water Treatment Plant, San Diego aggressive efforts for solar energy creation can save millions of dollars energy cost each year.

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