Pacific Gas & Electric has released more information regarding three large solar farms that it plans to build in Solar Valley, oops, I mean the San Joaquin Valley. It turns out the solar arrays will be built near Five Points and Helm, according to this story in The Fresno Bee.
The projects will generated a combined 50 megawatts of electricity, which PG&E says is enough to power 15,000 homes, and is the first big push by the utility to own and operate facilities, according to Tim Sheehan's story in The Bee.
We here at the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization believe that the region from Stockton to the Grapevine is an ideal spot for solar energy. We have ample sun, access to the power grid and lots of former farmland that is no longer productive - and flat.
Mike Jones of PG&E agrees. Sheehan quotes the power-generation manager as saying this, "The Central Valley holds tremendous potential as a source of clean energy for California."
And it comes at an opportune time. The solar sites will provide about 500,000 hours of paid work when the unemployment rate in Fresno County is about 17%. It also comes when utility companies are encouraged to increase their amount of green power to 33% by 2020.
The PG&E plants follow a similar one by Southern California Edison in Porterville. Budgets are an issue of course, but California has shown its willingness to embrace solar and other renewables. Maybe this is just a precursor of what could come.