Lancaster, California Going For Solar Gold

Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Solar panels on a house in Lancaster, California. (Thomas Hart / Flickr)

Solar panels on a house in Lancaster, California. (Thomas Hart / Flickr)

The high desert town of Lancaster, California, population 156,000, has set its sights on becoming, in the words of its mayor  R. Rex Parris “the solar capital of the world.” That means producing more electricity from solar energy than it consumes, which it would have to achieve by covering roofs, fields, and parking lots with enough solar panels to generate more than 200 megawatts citywide. The city, located about two hours north of Los Angeles in the Antelope Valley, already has about 40 megawatts built and 50 megawatts under construction, according to the New York Times; a combination of private investment and construction from the municipal utility.

Lancaster could prove to be a good case study: getting a solar permit in the sun soaked town is already much easier than anywhere in California—the number of residential solar installations have tripled in the last 18 months—and Parris is touting the initiative as an effective way to add jobs to the struggling area.

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