solar challenge

Federal Government Calls For More Rooftop Solar

The San Joaquin Valley, with ample sun and land resources and mid-state location, is ideally positioned to help California reach its new 33% renewable energy mandate. As a result, dozens of solar-energy development proposals are waiting in the wings that could, if they get approved, help create what UC Merced envisions as "Solar Valley."

To us, Solar Valley would be more than large-scale solar farms that provide electricity to thousands of homes. It would also include smaller-scale localized developments that power dairy farms, water-treatment plants, warehouses, packinghouses, universities and schools, office buildings and apartment complexes.

One way to do that is through rooftop solar, where panels are affixed to tops of parking structures and buildings. The systems are close to the power source, and can help reduce power bills.

We've written about the concept previously, but now the federal government is attempting to boost it by challenging cities and counties to cut red tape, update codes or otherwise make rooftop solar easier and cheaper to install.

Fresno and Tulare counties are home to dozens of warehouses and distribution centers that could accommodate rooftop solar. The region is growing rapidly, and presents robust future opportunity for developers and businesses to become power generators through innovative rooftop solar programs.

Al Weinrub, a leader in the rooftop solar movement, has more in this study. Solar Valley may not be so far away after all.

SCE rooftop solar project photo by