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Solar Power coming for PG&E customers in California

Pacific Gas and Electric Company has signed plans with Luz II, LLC, to purchase at least 500 MW of solar energy beginning in the spring of 2010. This move is an attempt to increase their supplies of renewable energy and address environmental issues that are a result of power and electric companies. I don't often speak very highly of energy companies, but you really have to hand it to these guys. I know that there is ulterior motives for everything that is done, but PG&E has a track record of seeking change in the way they distribute energy.

"This new project has the potential to be a tremendous additional resource and to help further solidify our leadership when it comes to providing customers with clean, climate-friendly energy. PG&E already has one of the nation's most climate-friendly supplies of electric power, with carbon emissions that are among the lowest in the utility industry," said Fong Wan, vice president of Energy Procurement. "Thirty percent of the power we deliver comes from hydroelectric and eligible renewables, like wind, biomass, and geothermal facilities. More than fifty percent of the power we deliver comes from zero-carbon emission sources. We look forward to expanding that going forward." Wow! Say what? More than 50% of the power they deliver comes from zero-carbon emission sources! To me, that says that this company is more concerned about our environment than about profit. In this day and age, that is a rarity for the energy market.

electric company power stationThis power delivery is set to start in 2010, pending regulatory review. The energy would be produced through a series of projects incorporating Luz II's proprietary DPT 550 technology, which is a hybrid solar-gas design that meets the requirements of the California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program. This year PG&E has entered into agreements to purchase 274 megawatts of solar, geothermal, wind, and other types of renewable energy.

As much as I may think badly of energy companies and their lack of interest in promoting alternative energy, I must congratulate PG&E. They are truly making steps toward a cleaner and less oil dependant future, without


PG&E and alternative energy - Some Facts:

PG&E is the nation's leading distributed solar utility with over 12,000 solar customers who generate approximately 88 megawatts of solar electricity, which is more than 60% of the distributed solar energy generated in the entire state of California. In 2004 alone, PG&E interconnected more than half of the new solar electric systems installed in the entire nation.

As the nation's number one distributed solar utility, PG&E supports solar energy in a number of ways. Since 2004, PG&E's Solar Schools Program has awarded 30 educational solar electric systems valued at $20,000 each to underserved schools throughout northern and central California. In 2006, PG&E will select an additional 30 schools to receive their very own educational solar electric system. The Solar Schools Program also provides solar curricula, teacher training and grant money to inspire students to become the solar innovators and scientists of tomorrow.

PG&E's Solar Habitat Program is a partnership between PG&E and local Habitat for Humanity chapters to fund solar electric systems on Habitat homes in northern and central California. The program brings solar energy to families with limited incomes and provides training funds to expand Habitat for Humanity's expertise with solar installations. In 2006, PG&E will contribute over $2.0 million towards the Solar Schools and Solar Habitat Programs. These programs are funded entirely by PG&E's shareholders. Through its Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), PG&E offers cash rebates to help offset the up front costs associated with the installation of large distributed solar electric systems. Since the SGIP program began in 2002, PG&E has paid out over $137 million to customers installing clean on-site solar generation in cities and counties throughout northern and central California.