Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Landmark Mendota solar project dedicated

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn't able to attend the dedication of a pioneering solar power plant today near Mendota, but he offered his comments anyway, according to

He said the facility is evidence that renewable and clean energy is a vital piece of California's energy portfolio, which must reduce dependency upon oil.

The 5-megawatt plant, which contains 50,000 solar panels on 50 acres, is the first solar farm to fire up on the west side of Fresno County under the state's renewable portfolio standard created in 2002. The standard requires utilities to increase procurement from eligible renewable energy resources by at least 1% of their retail sales annually until reaching 20% this year.

In 2009, renewables made up about 15% of the total, according to the California Public Utilities Commission.

As we said earlier, At least 12 solar projects are proposed for the west side of the Valley - where high jobless rates, lots of flat vacant land and agreeable civic leaders - but The Fresno Bee reported earlier that Cleantech America (now Meridian Energy USA) farm is the first to become operational.

An important component is the collaboration with West Hills College and school districts in Mendota, Firebaugh and San Joaquin. Together, they developed a training program for 65 people to work in the solar industry.

Experts say ample sun resources, high energy bills and low incomes make the inland portion of California an ideal spot to locate solar projects, in addition to other forms of alternative and clean energy.

The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization is a nonprofit dedicated to improving our region's quality of life by increasing its production and use of clean and alternative energy. The SJVCEO works with cities and counties and public and private organizations to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout the eight-county region of the San Joaquin Valley.


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