onsdag 27. januar 2010

Taking solar urban: S.F. installs solar arrays in affordable communities

Providing two services in one: affordable power for low-income neighborhoods generated cleanly by photovoltaic panels, the city of San Francisco continues its push to integrate renewable sources of energy. Not only will the local residents benefit from the less expensive electricity produced by three new installations, but also the resulting 33 jobs.
The plan is to continue these initiatives in the city’s Western Addition and Hayes Valley regions. To do so, city government has partnered with Sunwheel Energy Partners, a company that builds compact, user-friendly photovoltaic systems well suited to urban environments. Already, they have 375-kilowatts worth of panels online in three different sites.
Deployed in other regions of California as well, Sunwheel’s other installations churn out about 2.3 million kilowatts of zero-emission energy for 1,500 households every year, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by up to 2 million pounds.
The partnership between the Missouri-based company and the city fits into a larger movement toward distributed energy, even in urban areas. Before, solar arrays and wind farms were considered to be the best choices to deliver green energy to rural regions and resident living at the edges or off the national power grids. But they are increasingly becoming a metropolitan solution.
Rooftop solar is a pretty well established concept, but San Francisco is also eying the potential for urban wind turbines. A report released at the end of September by the city’s urban wind power task force, recommended that more compact, lightweight turbines be installed throughout the windiest pockets of the city to help it reach carbon neutrality by 2030.
San Francisco is well ahead of the game when it comes to solar, with 7,050 megawatts being generated on 1,350 rooftops spread across the city. When it comes to sheer megawatts, it’s still trailing Los Angeles and San Diego, which both enjoy sunnier climes. But it has six times the number of solar roof installations as L.A.

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