Wednesday, April 27, 2016

San Francisco Goes Solar

More: According to the respected environmental group, Center for Biological Diversity, ten states are blocking the deployment of solar power on a large scale to replace fossil fuel power generation. Most of them are sunny states with a potential to generate 35% of rooftop solar power in the US but only have 3% of the total capacity installed. These states definitely receive F's for failure: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia. Is it merely coincidence that most of these are southern, politically conservative states? NOT.

Solar power has inexplicably gotten caught up in 'Merica's on-going culture wars along with public restrooms. Alternative energy sources, despite the existential threat of global warming, are still identified by sections of the country as 'hippie' nonsense. Something for Californians to play with, but not for serious people bent on making a living. Too bad for US. The fact is resistance to free solar energy is building in boardrooms too. Of the states with net metering legislation in place, half have encountered political opposition intended to weaken or replace the laws that allow consumers to sell back excess energy production to the corporate owned grid.

{25.04.16}The San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopted new rules last week requiring all new buildings under ten stories to be equipped with solar panels. The rule will allow the city to reach its goal of 100% renewable energy use by 2020. Two other California cities, Lancaster and Sebastopol, have adopted similar legislation, but San Francisco is the first metropolis to take such action. The rule builds on state law requiring 15% of new roof space to be exposed to sunlight to allow future installation of solar panels.

A report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory says that if all available rooftops were fitted with solar panels, the United States could generate 40% of its annual energy consumption or about 1,181gW of power. The three year study employed LIDAR and GPS to map 128 US cities down to the square meter. Using computer simulation researchers estimated the amount of power that could be generated on identified rooftop space and extrapolated those numbers into a national estimate. Surprisingly two northeast cities ranked high in solar energy capability. Concord, New Hampshire rated 72% of its needs could be met with solar energy while Buffalo, New York rated 68%.  Mission Viejo, CA topped the list of cites with 88% potential renewable energy supply.