Alameda to Get Massive Solar Array

By Matt Baume
|  Thursday, Apr 14, 2011  |  Updated 2:49 PM PDT
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Alameda to Get Massive Solar Array

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At the same time that Gov. Jerry Brown was signing sweeping clean-energy regulations into law, Alameda officials presented a proposal to build the country's largest solar farm.

The project could power a quarter million homes by the time it's ready to go on line in 2014. It would also create hundreds of construction jobs, and several dozen long-term jobs after it's built, according to the CC Times.

But challenges remain. No solar project this large has ever been undertaken in California, and it's unclear where the power would go. Though PG&E is a likely buyer, the demand for solar power is not currently great enough to justify all of the proposed projects in the area.

But that could change over the next few years, as power companies shift focus to comply with Brown's new legislation. By the year 2020, one third of power must be derived from clean sources, rather than from environmentally deadly fuels like coal.

The solar panels would be located near I-580 in Alameda County, on an otherwise undesirable parcel of land.

American solar companies have had difficulty competing with Asian and European companies, due to heavy subsidies for clean power elsewhere in the world. This project might get an extra boost from some federal grants, giving it an advantage over competing proposals around the state.

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