*Editor's Note: I was cleaning out the SJVCEO blog archives last week and came across this draft post authored by the one and only Sandy Nax! Going by the date of the draft I can only figure that Sandy had worked on this prior to his departure from SJVCEO in May 2012 and never had a chance to hit the 'publish' button. So, Sandy I hope you don't mind our using your words one more time! -CBK
Many people equate solar power with rooftops, and that's true. More property owners - commercial and residential - are installing solar panels over their heads to cut power bills and carbon footprint. Check out what Toys 'R' Us is doing in New Jersey.
But solar energy is popping up all over the place. In backpacks. With the military in Afghanistan. On parking structures and as window coverings. And, increasingly, on or around water.
Solar is appearing at wastewater treatment plants, vineyard irrigation ponds and in settling ponds at gravel mines. There is even research into getting solar power from the ocean.
This New York Times story, which I read in the San Jose Mercury News, notes that solar panels are sitting atop pontoons at Far Niente in Wine Country. It quotes a winery official saying that vineyards are expensive real estate, and placing a solar array on the pond means no vines are removed.
Solar energy systems also are gaining a following at wastewater treatment plants here in the San Joaquin Valley, where power bills run high in the blazing summer.
The cities of Tulare and Madera use solar at their plants. Learn more about those projects here and here. Water transfer is expensive, and solar can help cut costs. We keep hearing that more cities are considering following suit. This Sign on San Diego story has more on how solar works at such plants.
Opportunities for solar will become even greater as technology improves, costs decrease and it becomes more mainstream. Water-related solar increases those possibilities even more.
Sandy's now in Sacramento working for the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and still managing to write...a lot. Seriously, Google it!
Photo of solar on pond at Far Niente Winery by winebusiness.com