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In Central California, Solar Power Dawns as a Major New Cash Crop [View All]

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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-10 02:34 PM
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In Central California, Solar Power Dawns as a Major New Cash Crop
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California's Tulare County produces about 26 percent of the state's milk supply and 55 percent of its oranges, and is one of the few places in the world where giant Sequoias reproduce. What it doesnt seem to do is produce anywhere near enough electric power to meet its needs.

While the county has a few generating facilities mostly small hydroelectric plants dating from the early 20th century altogether they produce only about 50 megawatts of power. That compares to demand countywide of about 1,000 mw, says Doug Carter, principal with SolarGenUSA, which hopes to build a score of new solar farms in the county.

"To us it makes more sense to build relatively small 20-mw power facilities close to where the power is needed rather than seeking permits for large utility-size solar plants that need to wheel power long distance," argues Mr. Carter.

SolarGenUSA and a handful of other developers, some from around the world, are proposing several dozen solar projects from the mini to the mega scale in Tulare and Kings counties in Central California, renowned as one of the world's major producers of fruit, nuts and other agricultural products.

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