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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Apr 5, 2008 8:39 AM Flag

    rooftop project was 1 of 2 announced last week by Arnold Schwarzenegger

    rooftop project was 1 of 2 announced last week by Arnold Schwarzenegger

    Put Rooftops to Work
    Posted on: Saturday, 5 April 2008, 03:00 CDT

    Clean energy so far amounts largely to talk, but a project by Southern California Edison soon will put rooftops to use, producing significant results.

    The plan is to install solar cells on 65 million square feet of the roofs of commercial buildings in Southern California. The equipment will generate 250 megawatts of electricity, which is enough power for 162,500 homes.

    The cost will be $875 million, which, if the numbers hold, means a relatively short payback period. It also shows how California can make some real progress toward its goal of using clean energy sources for 20 percent of its electricity.

    The rooftop project was one of two announced last week by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The other is a proposed 250-megawatt Beacon Solar Energy Project, to be built by FPL Energy on 2,000 acres in eastern Kern County. The plant will use 500,000 curved mirrors to intensify the sun's rays, create steam and drive a turbine to generate electricity.

    The process, thermal solar power, is clean since it uses no fossil fuel and produces no harmful emissions. Environmentalists worry that it does use scarce water, although plants built by FPL in the Mojave Desert condense and recycle the steam.

    Thermal solar power is less expensive and more efficient than the photovoltaic cells to be used in the rooftop project. But obviously they aren't suitable for an urban environment.

    What's it all mean to average homeowners? These projects won't show up on the monthly energy bill, but, in the case of the rooftop project, it does show that photovoltaic cells are ready for your rooftop, too.

    The value is easiest to see when buying a new home and the cost of solar panels can be included in the mortgage. The savings should be about enough so that you go "green" and break even.

    On other homes, the cost of an average home installation would be roughly $25,000, but this depends on size, style and energy needs. Savings should offset the costs within 10 to 12 years, although some homeowners say they're doing better.

    So, let's hope there are solar cells coming soon to your neighborhood. In commercial and industrial areas, there are a lot of flat rooftops out there just waiting to be put to work.

    http://www.redorbit.com/news/business/1327601/put_rooftops_to_work/

 
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