As energy stories go, individual episodes of new wind or solar farms are no longer much worth tracking. An exception comes today with word from California of the world’s first largescale, commercial solar facility that will use photovoltaic panels, or solar cells. Utility-sized installations usually sport vast fields of mirrors that focus the sun’s energy – ie, heat – onto gizmos that drive dynamos. The utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, is under heavy pressure from the state to increase its renewable power portfolio. It announced yesterday is contracting for a 250 megawatt, pv-based solar farm in San Luis Obispo county – north of Santa Barbara and south of Monterey. Plans are to add 550 megawatts in the same area with the help of a second contractor. Costs, it says here, are coming down. One reason given is new, thin-film pv layered on to amorphous silicon.
The Tracker noticed spotty coverage that includes the uncertain fate of federal tax breaks and other incentives for solar and other renewable energy as a factor in PG&E’s plans. It seems pertinent.
San Jose Mercury News Matt Nauman ; AP ; NYTimes Matthew L. Wald ; Reuters ; Sci. American David Biello does slip in mention of federal investment credits ; SF Chronicle Ilana DeBare also has some on tax credit uncertainty ; Financial Times Richard Waters reports that the deal is contingent on extension of federal incentives ;
Grist for the Mill: PG&E Press Release;