By Peter Weich, CEO Founder, Absolutely Solar Inc.
This Sacramento Bee article (March 26, 2012), “Gov. Jerry Brown’s solar power campaign,” highlights some important issues in California’s quest for renewable energy.
First and foremost, it confirms Governor Brown’s serious commitment to solar PV development and to providing a large percentage of California’s power needs from renewable, clean sources. He’s involved and active and seems to understand the importance of the goals and the difficulties that must be overcome.
The story emphasizes large projects and their high potential for failure (difficult permitting, often from multiple governmental agencies; very long and expensive development cycles; environmental impacts on desert ecosystems, flora and fauna; costly and lengthy transmission upgrades and grid interconnection issues; and the complexities of securing capital and financing).
What the article fails to point out is that smaller projects that provide widely distributed generation avoid most of these pitfalls, have a much higher success rate with less environmental impacts and greater benefit to the ratepayers. Smaller projects that are closer to load don’t require grid upgrades, don’t cause long distance transmission power losses, are faster to build and provide more opportunities for community benefits.