PG&E Plays “Green Knight”

Utility gets into the solar biz

As the solar industry struggles with the economic slowdown, lack of investment, even dropping oil prices, California's ambitions to go green are looking bleaker.

Enter, of all things, an energy giant.

Pacific Gas & Electric tuesday announced a bold plan to commit $1.4 billion to both install photovoltaic panels here in California, and to help solar companies to continue to innovate on their own.

Call it a "Green Knight."

PG&E CEO Peter Darbee told reporters he expects his company to use solar energy to power 110,000 households by 2015.  It will also help local companies, like Hayward-based OptiSolar, boost its own solar business.

It won't be free, though, and PG&E admits your utility bill will likely be higher -- by about 32 cents a month. Darbee says it will help his company "provide stimulus and reduce carbon emissions."

Which fits right into California's goal of helping the environment, while stimulating the economy.

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