Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New Economics of Solar Boost Smaller Power Projects

As the Coachella Valley marks another Earth Day today, the region continues to struggle over how best to turn its industrial-strength sun, wind and geothermal resources into a driver for the diversified economy it needs for sustained financial growth and jobs.

A Solar Power Inc. array in North Palm Springs.

Rather than the large-scale solar projects east of the valley, the future of renewable development in the area — and across California — may lie in smaller projects similar to a new 8-megawatt solar plant sitting on 50 acres of private land in North Palm Springs.

Built by an American company with funding from China, the plant is among a growing number of smaller utility-scale projects springing up across Southern California as the state's large power companies race to generate a mandated 33 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

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