California Utility PG&E’s New Solar Initiative Thinks Big, Works Small

There’s all sorts of good green things going on in California these days, and now, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has announced plans to implement a major new solar photovoltaic installation, recently approved by the the California Public Utilities Commission.

The new installation program is the first step in a five-year initiative that will consist of up to 250 MW of utility-owned PV generation and another 250 MW provided by independent developers through “a streamlined regulatory process,”enough to power 150,000 homes in in PG&E’s Northern and Central California service area. All PV installations owned by PG&E will be located near existing company substations.

PGE&E_Solar

image via Pacific Gas & Electric

The initiative displays a progressive “git ‘er done” sort of thinking on the part of PG&E, as each of the installations slated for direct ownership by the company are moderately sized  (ranging from 1-20 MW) which will require less time to build than a giant array–and by working with independent developers (possibly companies with large warehouses, as in Portland General Electric’s model) the company will get more solar up and running, and with less time and expense, than it likely could manage on its own.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.