Berkeley PV Purchase Applauded

The Solar Community Campaign, a coalition of national and local environmental organizations, welcomed the Berkeley City Council’s decision to purchase 40-70 kW of solar panels.

Washington, D.C. – November 1, 2002 [] The city has not yet established the location for a solar photovoltaic (PV) system. Once they settle on a location, most likely a rooftop, they will issue an invitation to bid, said Neal Desnoo, of Berkeley’s Energy Office. The Energy Office anticipates purchasing high-density, high performance PV to maximize energy from the potential location’s limited area. “The city council wanted to do something to reduce greenhouse gases, help build up the solar industry and reduce reliance on fossil fuels,” Desnoo said. Although it’s a good time to invest in solar, there are still some regulatory challenges that could be changed to facilitate transitions to solar power, said Desnoo. Among these challenges are exit fees of around three cents per kWh which can turn a viable project into a non-viable project, said Desnoo. Despite these challenges, the City of Berkeley intends to undertake this solar project once they establish a suitable site. “We have to deal with site issues, but hopefully that can get resolved soon,” said Desnoo. “With this decision, Berkeley joins the movement for a clean, responsible energy future and becomes a Solar Community,” said Abby Young, Director of Cities for Climate Protection, a program of the Berkeley based International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). “By choosing solar energy, Berkeley can slow global warming and lower pollution levels while increasing the reliability of Berkeley’s electricity supply.” If available solutions – including the use of Renewable Energy resources like solar – are not widely adopted soon, scientists expect increased temperatures, rising sea levels and changes in precipitation patterns to impact the survival of many communities, plants and animals, said the campaign. Earlier this year, a University of California, Santa Cruz study showed that the expected rise in temperatures and decrease in snow pack will strain the already stressed California water supply. If CO2 emissions are allowed to continue unchecked, the Environmental Protection Agency predicts that smog – which is caused when heat “cooks” pollution – could rise by 20 percent in the Bay Area, said the campaign. “Solar energy is a win-win for everyone,” said Phil Radford, executive director of Power Shift. “As we shift to solar energy, we build an innovative American industry, reduce pollution and save the environment. Berkeley is helping to lead this power shift.”
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