California Continues to Pursue Solar Power in a Big Way

November 3, 2004


Photo of a large flat expanse of ground covered with solar panels tilted up toward the sun

The new one-megawatt solar power system at Cerro Cosso Community College in Ridgecrest, California.
Credit: WorldWater & Power Corp.

People and organizations across the United States are increasingly interested in solar power, but California continues to lead the way in terms of large installations. WorldWater & Power Corporation recently marked the completion of a 1-megawatt installation at Cerro Coso Community College in Ridgecrest and a 268-kilowatt water-pumping system on a citrus ranch in San Diego County. See the Cerro Coso Web site and the press releases from October 20th and 22nd on the WorldWater & Power Web site.

Projects currently planned for the Golden State include a 900-kilowatt system atop the FedEx Corporation's hub at the Oakland International Airport, a 269-kilowatt system to be installed in Cathedral City by Honeywell, and a 225-kilowatt installation at a wastewater treatment facility in San Francisco. And on November 3rd, the El Dorado Irrigation District (EID), located east of Sacramento, will issue a request for proposals for a 900-kilowatt system at one of its wastewater treatment facilities. Proposals will be due by the end of this month. Even the state's schools are getting in on the act, as the California Energy Commission (CEC) is providing $4.5 million in grants to 30 schools to install a total of 700 kilowatts of solar power. See the announcements from FedEx, Honeywell, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the EID, and the CEC.

Of course, California doesn't have a monopoly on solar power projects, and one of its nearest neighbors is part of the competition: the Las Vegas Valley Water District (LVVWD) in Nevada announced plans in October to build a 3.1-megawatt solar power system, with construction starting next year. Meanwhile, in Vermont, NRG Systems, Inc.—a manufacturer of wind energy assessment systems—has installed a 67-kilowatt solar power system on its new energy-efficient manufacturing facility and office building. That may not sound like much by comparison, but so far, it's the largest in the state. See the announcements from LVVWD and NRG Systems.