Solar, Wind Power

Utility Connects 1,500th Solar Electric System

Marking rapid growth in solar-power systems countywide, County Board Chairwoman Dianne Jacob, San Diego Regional Energy Office (SDREO) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) heralded the addition of the 1,500th local customer providing energy from wind and solar power to the region’s energy grid.

San Diego, California – August 16, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] “Solar power gives me the opportunity to reduce my electric bill and improve the environment at the same time,” said the 1,500th net metering customer, Henk Tysma, owner of California Baja Rent-A-Car in Alpine. “I’m also helping my community because my system is supplying power when customers need it most.” Under SDG&E’s net-metering program, customers installing small renewable energy systems, such as solar arrays and wind turbines, can qualify for special meters that run backward when the renewable system is sending energy out into SDG&E’s electrical grid. “What we’re seeing is that solar power is now moving into the mainstream of homeowner and business improvements,” said Terry Farrelly, electric and gas procurement vice president at SDG&E. “Solar systems often send the most power during summer afternoons, when customer demand for air-conditioning is at its highest.” According to the SDG&E and SDREO, homeowners and business people are adding on solar power systems at an accelerating rate. In 1999, SDG&E received just 11 applications from customers to hook their systems to the grid. By 2003, that number grew to 535, and more than 450 applications have been filed this year so far. SDREO, which manages a monetary incentive program to encourage larger solar installations, has seen demand grow from 24 completed projects over the last three years to more than 60 projects underway this year alone. “San Diego County is quickly becoming the solar capital of California,” said SDREO Executive Director, Irene M. Stillings. “From megawatt-sized projects like the Del Mar Fairgrounds to smaller systems like Mr. Tysma’s, people are getting the message that producing your own power is not only possible, it’s economical. Plus, every watt we use from the sun is one we don’t have to generate by burning fossil fuels.”