Northern California City Solar Leader in Environmental Clean Technology Solar Jobs

Northern California News – Santa Rosa is a beacon to other California cities showing everyone what a solar American city can do to improve the quality of life of a community. Though there are other cities in California that have installed more watts than Santa Rosa, the city seems to be just getting started. Smack in wine country, Santa Rosa area has the financial power and sustainable enviroment leadership to make a substantial impact on the future of solar in California. Read More

Department of Energy, Solar American Cities

With 256 days of sunshine per year, Santa Rosa has the potential to generate a significant amount of solar energy. Located north of the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Rosa is the largest city in Sonoma County. A leader in environmental conservation and clean technologies, the city was placed at #5 in the nation’s top ten green cities in National Geographic’s Green Guide 2006. In 2005, representatives from Santa Rosa and the eight other cities in Sonoma County adopted a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 25% below 1990 levels by 2015. This is the most aggressive emissions reduction target set by any San Francisco Bay Area community to date. Solar energy technologies will be used as a crucial tool to achieve this target.

The 20kW PV system at the City of Santa Rosa’s Bennett Valley Golf Course is roof-mounted on a LEED certified building. The 29kW PV array at the City of Santa Rosa’s vehicle fueling station provides enough energy to meet the facility’s daily lighting load.

The City of Santa Rosa, in partnership with eight neighboring cities, Sonoma County, and interested stakeholders, formed an organization called Solar Sonoma County to develop a countywide Solar Implementation Plan (known as “the SIP”) and to conduct outreach and public education.

The SIP supports the goals of Solar Sonoma County: Add 25 megawatts (MW) of new solar generation by March 2011, reduce the County’s CO2 emissions by 8,500 tons annually Over the long-term, replace 250 MW of peak demand with a combination of solar energy generation and energy efficiency, and Support countywide and state greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets.

The SIP, completed and presented to Sonoma County’s local governments in April 2010, provides strategies for collaboration between local governments and the private sector to reduce market barriers to the installation of solar electric systems, solar thermal systems, and energy efficiency measures through advances in policy, financing, education, and market transformation. It is meant to function as a road map and plan for efforts to move Sonoma County and the nation to widespread adoption of solar energy and energy efficiency concepts.

Solar Implementation Plan Recommendations – The Solar California Sonoma County (SSC) Working Group and Advisory Board selected the recommendations included in the SIP from a field of more than 50 ideas and suggestions compiled through a stakeholder process over an 18-month period. The following recommendations are presented in the report with the associated market barriers, benefits, resources, case studies, constraints, and tasks:

Policies/Regulations – Regional Standards: Seek opportunities to create regional standards that simplify the regulatory process for solar generation and energy efficiency projects, including permitting, code compliance, municipal building code scope/content, zoning ordinances, and general plan elements/language.

Financing/Incentives – Redevelopment/Community Development/Enterprise Fund Programs: Seek opportunities within existing dedicated public funding programs (e.g., redevelopment, community development, and enterprise funds) to focus on solar generation and energy efficiency public agency projects within the scope of the funding program.

Education/Outreach -Training for Government Staff/Officials and Solar/Efficiency Vendors: Seek opportunities and resources to provide government staff and elected officials with training and education on solar energy and energy efficiency to help support policy and permitting/code compliance decisions, and seek opportunities to encourage and support training and certification for solar and efficiency vendors in industry protocols, local codes and standards, and State building codes.

Education for Community: Seek opportunities to connect citizens with solar electric, solar thermal, and energy efficiency information and services through existing government channels; seek new opportunities for government to educate the community on solar power and energy efficiency and leverage non-governmental educational opportunities, increasing public awareness and making them more available to the community.

Market Transformation – Clean Energy Advocate Program: Support and promote the new countywide Clean Energy Advocate program, help grow public awareness of this program, help grow public awareness of the program, and assist in identification of homeowners whose homes would be good candidates for solar and efficiency measures. (NOTE: Santa Rosa received a U.S. Department of Energy Special Project Award to implement this.)

Request-for-Proposal/Bid Clearinghouse: Promote the creation of a countywide Web portal for solar and efficiency government requests-for-bids to assist local vendors in identifying bidding opportunities and providing competitive bids, and encourage government members of SSC to participate.

The City of Santa Rosa and Solar Sonoma County’s ongoing outreach and education activities include:
Performing outreach via the Solar Sonoma web site and an annual countywide Solar Fair.
Developing workforce training and educational workshops geared toward solar installers, building inspectors, and consumers.

Addressing both pre installation ( promoting energy conservation, understanding the process, and creating trust in an installer ) and post installation education and quality assurance for consumers.