January 12, 2006 2:01 PM PST

Calif. solar energy plan approved

A $3.2 billion solar energy plan was approved in California on Thursday to create one of the country's largest such programs.

Under the 10-year plan, called the "California Solar Initiative," the life of current state subsidizes will be extended to provide a million residents and businesses with rooftop solar panels, or 3,000 megawatts of solar energy, across the state.

Supporters of the plan believe that it will save state residents as much as $2.9 billion in energy costs over the next 10 years, factoring in a traditional rise in electricity prices over that time. It will also mitigate the effects of global warming and create jobs for state residents, supporters say.

"Electricity generation is the single largest cause of global warming," said Adam Browning, director of operations of the Vote Solar Initiative. "It's critical that we take action to jumpstart the transition to clean, renewable energy."

Some financial analysts believe the program will have little short-term effect on California solar providers because they are at high production through this year. But long term, the initiative should build a stable solar market in California.

"This initiative should allow California, and hence the U.S., to capture a share of the global solar installation market, and may favor (such) companies in the United States," Jesse Pichel, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, wrote in a research note.

Of course, it's not without risks. Those could include raw material shortages, operational missteps, or the possibility that the federal government would reduce incentives for solar power, according to Pichel.

Still, the plan "may pave the way for other states to pass similar initiatives that spur long-term solar industry demand," he wrote.

6 comments

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Ugly?
This sight of these panels everywhere will be like the old TV
Antennas. UGLY.

It does matter. How about Telephone poles? In my town they're
considering spending lots of money burying phone lines. A "before
and "after" photo depiction made a remarkable difference in how
the center of town looked.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
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only 1 million homes will be involved you say
Wow - 3000 MW with 1 million homes. That's some great density. An average-sized coal plant in Illinois generates 1500 MW of power. Shows you what an interesting side show solar power is. Oh and it costs only over 3 billion, and you might come close to breaking even after only 10 years. Sounds like a great plan, but only for California.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
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Hide them better
Yes well in the 80s they were terrible looking on rooftops so that spelled the end of them but now there back but I am sure they can maybe color them black or have them hidden somehow and much smaller?

There are a lot of camouflage techniques or at least make them look consistent.
Posted by Blito (436 comments )
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great effort
it's a great initiative by whoever started it off. at first, we can expect a no of snags or shortcomings, but it's the only way to evolve to a more efficient, climate friendly energy. hopefully, more cities,hence countries will follow such minor hence significant changes. way to go.
Posted by arunshekar22 (4 comments )
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i am extremely interested in solar energy concept can you help me understand
Posted by karaska (2 comments )
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