Created on 10 October 2014
If there's one thing that California has an abundance of, its sunshine. It could easily have laid claim to the state motto 'The Sunshine State' if Florida hadn't gotten there first. Instead, Californians have to be content with 'The Golden State', and the 3,000 hours or so of sunshine per year that the people of San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego have to put up with.
Naturally, there's potentially a massive amount of energy that could be tapped within those 3,000 annual hours of sunshine, and moves have been made in California to do just that. In a joint venture between the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission, a campaign named 'Go Solar California!
' has been instigated. The campaign has been set up to educate the people of California on the benefits of using solar power, as well as creating a central resource of information for any Californians who want to consider making solar power part of their lives, but don't really know where to begin.
The Go Solar California! Campaign has set itself two goals:
• To encourage Californians to install at least 3,000 megawatts of solar energy systems in their homes and businesses by the start of 2017.
• To install 585 millions therms of gas-displacing solar water heating systems by the start of 2018.
As part of this campaign, Go Solar California! has created the California Solar Initiative
, which is a solar rebate program for investor-owned utilities customers, namely the customers of Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric. The CSI program funds solar energy installations on existing homes, and existing or new agricultural, commercial, governmental and not-for-profit business premises. People who install and use solar energy within their homes will qualify to receive money-saving rebates.
California has something of a trail-blazing reputation when it comes to solar power. In 1978, the US Congress passed the Energy Tax Act which encouraged home-owners to invest in solar and wind energy technologies, as a reaction to the energy crises of the 1970s. In 1979 ARCO Solar commenced construction of the world's large photovoltaic (the means of generating power from sunlight) manufacturing plant in Camarillo, California, and in 1981 opened Solar One in Daggett California, the world's first large-scale thermal solar power plant.
As of 2014, no less than four major solar power plants were under construction within the state of California
• The 550 MW Desert Sunlight Solar Farm in Riverside County
• The 550MW Topaz Solar Farm in San Luis Obispo County
• The 500MW Blythe Solar Power Project, also in Riverside County
• The 250MW California Valley Solar Roach in the Carrizo Plain
With global warming now being an undeniable factor in everyone's lives, and with traditional fuel sources such as fossil fuels rapidly diminishing, the time has really come when everyone ought to take responsibility for our planet's future, so it remains habitable for our future generations. Campaigns such as Go Solar California! and incentives such as the California Solar Initiative are one real leap forward in hoping to encourage as many people as possible to do just that.