Every little helps for California's PV deployment


One of the chief proponents of clean energy in the U.S., California has once again come up with a way to deploy solar in unchartered territory. This time it is on the bus stops of San Francisco, while the whole state embraces the HERO financing program, which is helping thousands of homes reduce their carbon footprint.

Solar system manufacturer Urban Solar has struck a deal with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and Clear Channel Outdoor (CCO) to deploy the company’s PV-Lanterns to 3,300 bus stops across the city. It has been working on the idea since 2009, with the autonomous PV lighting systems reducing the need for trenching of utility poles to the bus stops, and saving energy.

“We are very pleased that SFMTA and Clear Channel Outdoor chose us for this green initiative,” said Urban Solar President Jeff Peters. “SFMTA and the City of San Francisco are great partners and an excellent location to showcase our technology. San Francisco’s west coast weather can be challenging for solar systems in an urban setting. Our powerful controller and experienced design ensure it will have lit bus stops year round.”

Going green with HERO

Another initiative that is helping California save on carbon emissions is the HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy financing program. The financing program helps homeowners to make energy- and water-efficiency improvements and to install solar panels to power their homes.

The progressive program, which is a partnership between Renovate America and state and local governments, began in 2011 and allows homeowners to pay for the solar panels through their property tax bill. Since its inception, $1.58 billion has been provided in financing, while the energy savings from the program are roughly the equivalent to taking almost a million Americans off the grid a year, or closing two coal power plants.

“Californians are once again leading the country in energy conservation, clean energy, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Rick Bishop, executive director of the Western Riverside Council of Governments. “By helping homeowners improve their homes and lower their utility bills through energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades, the HERO Program has demonstrated that incremental, individual action can bring about change in a significant way.”

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