Lancaster to achieve the Solar Capital Status
Lancaster is a high desert city in northern Los Angeles County, California. Lancaster faces high sunny exposure and desert sunshine with pretty high temperatures.
The record high temperature in Lancaster was 114 °F (46 °C) on July 18, 1960.
|Climate data for Lancaster, California|
|Average high °F (°C)||59
The Mayor R. Rex Parris decided to make the city the Solar Capital of the world. Lancaster’s homes, parking areas, fields are all covered with solar panels so as to generate the city’s electricity requirements (126 MW). The Mayor required all the houses to be equipped with solar panels or be in subdivisions that produce 1 KW solar of energy per household. This made the city come up with more and more residential units with solar rooftops. Numbers estimated to be thrice the domestic installations in the past one and a half years. With the solar panel prices down by almost 90%, these cities aim at easily achieving their targets.
Following Lancaster’s success many of the comparatively cooler cities like Ohio have also tried adopting solar as the electricity source. However the policies in these places are not very solar friendly and thus they face dirty politics of the states before installing solar rooftops.
California Solar Energy
California has been quite aggressive in its solar energy policy. In the past California and the Federal Government approved a number of big Solar Thermal Plants totaling around 2800 MW. These plants utilize Concentrated Solar Thermal (CSP) Technology and used mirrors and towers instead of normal PV panels. The haste with which these plants were permitted and approved was mainly due to the expiry of the Treasury Grant Scheme by end of 2010. According to the American Stimulus rules, only Green Projects which broke ground or spent 5% of their costs would be eligible for the 30% Cash Subsidy. 6 Huge Solar Thermal Plants were approved.
California has been at the forefront of Green Energy Leadership in the USA with massive subsidy schemes. California Solar Initiative (CSI) implemented in 2007 for setting up 3000 MW of Solar Power in California by 2016 is the most ambitious Green Energy Program in the USA till now. More than 46,000 installations have been done in this program accounting for more than 50% of USA’s Solar Energy Capacity till now.
The lifetime costs of a large solar facility are expected to be about 15 percent more than electricity bought from the state’s grid. Those projected costs are now roughly half of what they were five years ago, state figures show.
Around the country, photovoltaic energy is increasingly being embraced as panel prices fall. Nationally, photovoltaic generating capacity rose 76 percent in 2012, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association; more than 40 percent of the country’s solar capacity of 7,700 megawatts came on line last year.
While the desert sunshine in California and Arizona helped put those states atop the national solar energy rankings, towns in cloudier regions are also adopting it. Napoleon, Ohio, for instance, benefits from 14 megawatts of local solar power.