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All things California desert: Travel, politics, environment, adventure, offbeat experiences, local hotspots, insider's tips, people and commentary about life in Palm Springs, the Coachella Valley and the California desert region.

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California's Solar Land Rush Intensifies

Posted by Morgan Miles Craft On 12:54 PM 0 comments

The Race is on to Land Solar Projects across Eastern Riverside and San Bernardino Counties

by Morgan Craft

   Interior Secretary Ken Salalzar’s recent visit to the Coachella Valley put national focus on the proposed mass development of solar energy in eastern Riverside and San Bernardino counties. “We have set aside 1,000 square miles of public lands in 24 Solar Energy Study Areas that the Department and BLM are evaluating for solar energy development across the West,” Salazar said. “If developed, these tracts could generate nearly 100,000 megawatts of solar electricity.”

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   To highlight the point, the Interior Department has opened a California Renewable Energy Coordination Office (RECO), right in Palm Springs. “These offices in California, along with our renewable permitting teams in six other western states, will help to swiftly complete application reviews on the most ready-to-go and environmentally appropriate solar, wind, and geothermal projects on U.S. public lands,” says Salazar. The streamlined review and approval process would take one year, instead of the usual three to four years.
   The Green Technology Institute calls the Southern California desert the “Saudi Arabia of green power,” and advocates all who believe in green energy to participate in “California’s green gold rush” taking place right here, right now. Riding the wave of the State Bill 107 mandate that requires 33% of our state’s electricity to be produced using renewable sources by 2020, utilities and solar power developers are wanting to know where they can build, and how soon. There’s a huge motivator: projects that are able to break ground by December 1, 2010, qualify for a portion of $15 billion in Recovery Act money that has been earmarked for alternative energy development. (Click to read full story)

A Different Kind of Rooftop Solar Shingle

Posted by Morgan Miles Craft On 8:52 AM 0 comments
A Different Kind of Rooftop Solar Shingle

A company out of Grass Valley, California – Sun Energy Engineering Co. – has developed a low-profile solar shingle, or Sun Energy Shingle, to be used instead of roofing shingles or over existing shingles. It’s available in custom colors, too, depending on what kind of look you’re trying to get on the rooftop.