New solar plant completed in California

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As part of an initiative to move towards energy that is renewable and clean, a new solar power plant has been completed in central California.

The project was started back in 2011 and built by SunPower in San Luis Obispo County, the California Valley Solar Ranch will bring more electricity to those with Pacific Gas and Electric.

This is part of a necessary switch to energy that is renewable and also less harmful to the world, and since fossil fuels are not a clean source and are also more finite, and there is a lot of controversy that surrounds methods such as fracking, this is a good step in the right direction.

That’s not to say that solar energy is perfect, since it does take a significant amount of space, as the new plant, which takes up 4700 acres, is proof of. That space coukd be inhabited by nature, but there will always be a price to pay, especially since the level our world is dependent upon electricity is very high.

[via Forbes]

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  • J.L.

    I prefer geothermal myself, but solar is an improvement over fossil fuels in almost all areas except output/cost (without magnification). As for space and environmental concerns, it’s nothing compared to non-renewable energy. Until nuclear fusion is perfected, I would stay away from that kind of energy.

  • Jeff Belanger

    [@n.n]

    Unless of course a nuclear power plant is in, say, Fukushima, and is slowly leaking toxic water into the Pacific.

  • n.n

    Solar technology is neither renewable nor clean. To properly assess the benefits and risks posed by each technology, it is necessary to chacterize it throughout its evolution from recovery to reclamation. It also helps to distinguish between the driver and the technology which converts it to a useful form, and stores it when unavailable or otherwise transient. A further problem with solar farms and similar low-density technologies is the massive displacement of flora, fauna, and people. It has limited utility which is determined by context and application. It should be considered as part of a class of technologies which is capable of circumstantial energy production.

    With over 3000 nuclear reactors operating world-wide, only nuclear technology is capable of supporting globally distributed base loads, while limiting total environmental disruption.

  • [@JonE] Answer: 250 megawatts peak, with a capacity factor of 25% (but that’s peak during the day, when electricity usage is highest), and…well, read the rest of the story yourself, in fact why don’t you read about all the PV plants in California:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_California
    It’s going kind of slow, but panels are getting cheaper so that’s good.

  • JonE

    I’ve seen the multiple Wind Mill Farms all over California so my first question was how much space all these solar panels would use up My second question is how much power does a 4700 acre Solar Panel Farm generate; how many customers does it serve and does it replace any current power plants?

    Above all those questions is how economical is it; how much is it going to cost to maintain?

    Along with all the other alternative energy ideas we’ve read about, this is one I’d like to keep my eye on and know more about.