California Governor Jerry Brown Wants to Increase Renewable Energy Workforce

Governor Jerry Brown is determined to create half a million jobs in the renewable energy industry. During his campaign, one of his promises was to increase the renewable energy workforce, and he has created a plan that outlines what he wants to do in order to achieve his goal. He was sworn into office this month, and now Californians are waiting to see if he lives up to his promises.

“My goal is that by 2020, California should produce 20,000 new megawatts (MW) of renewable electricity, and also accelerate the development of energy storage capacity. California can do this by aggressively developing renewables at all levels: small, on-site residential and business systems; intermediate-sized energy systems close to existing consumer loads and transmission lines; and large scale wind, solar and geothermal energy systems. At the same time, California should take bold steps to increase energy efficiency,” commented Governor Brown.

“Below is my plan to get us there. It will produce a half a million new jobs in research, development, manufacturing, construction, installation, and maintenance over the next decade,” continued Governor Brown.

1. Build 12,000 MWs of Localized Electricity Generation

a) California should develop 12,000 megawatts of localized energy by 2020. Localized energy is on-site or small energy systems located close to where energy is consumed that can be constructed quickly (without new transmission lines) and typically without any environmental impact.
b) Solar systems of up to 2 megawatts should be installed on the roofs of warehouses, parking lot structures, schools, and other commercial buildings throughout the state.
c) Solar energy projects up to 20 megawatts in size should be built on public and private property throughout the state. For example, we should create the California Solar Highway by placing solar panels alongside our state highways.
d) The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) or Legislature should implement a system of carefully calibrated renewable power payments (commonly called feed in tariffs) for distributed generation projects up to 20 megawatts in size. Holding down overall rates must be part of the design.

Governor Brown’s plan is to install solar panels in warehouses, parking lot structures, schools, commercial buildings, and highways. Knowledge of proper solar panel installation procedures is important for workers to have, therefore solar photovoltaic (PV) training is required. The American Institute of Renewable Energy (AIRE) is a solar training school that offers solar sales force training, solar installation certification courses, and solar panel installation training. By being a part of Governor Brown’s plan, those looking for this type of work should really consider attending this remarkable institution.

The American Institute of Renewable Energy (AIRE) is located in southern California and offers the best instructors and hands-on experience in solar power training. If one is interested in attending a course, one should take advantage of the free bimonthly solar seminars AIRE offers. Receiving quality training in solar panel installation is the first step in accomplishing Governor Brown’s goals.

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Solar Energy in Spain

Solar Energy in Spain

Spain is forging ahead with plans to build concentrating solar power plants, establishing the country and Spanish companies as world leaders in the emerging field. At the same time, the number of installed photovoltaic systems is growing exponentially, and researchers continue to explore new ways to promote and improve solar power.

This is the seventh in an eight-part series highlighting new technologies in Spain and is produced by Technology Review, Inc.s custom-publishing division in partnership with the Trade Commission of Spain.

From the road to the Solcar solar plant outside Seville, drivers can see what appear to be glowing white rays emanating from a tower, piercing the dry air, and alighting upon the upturned faces of the tilted mirror panels below.

Appearances, though, are deceiving: those upturned mirrors are actually tracking the sun and radiating its energy onto a blindingly white square at the top of the tower, creating the equivalent of the power of 600 suns. That power is used to vaporize water into steam to power a turbine.

This tower plant uses concentrating solar technology with a central receiver. Its the first commercial central-receiver system in the world.

Spanish companies and research centers are taking the lead in the recent revival of concentrating solar power (CSP), a type of solar thermal power; expanses of mirrors are being assembled around the country. At the same time, Spanish companies are investing in huge photovoltaic (PV) fields, as companies dramatically increase production of PV panels and investigate the next generation of this technology.

Spain is already fourth in the world in its use of solar power, and second in Europe, with more than 120 megawatts in about 8,300 installations. Within only the past 10 years, the number of companies working in solar energy has leapt from a couple of dozen to a few hundred.

Power from the Suns Heat

Southern Spain, a region known the world over for its abundant sun and scarce rain, provides an ideal landscape for solar thermalpower. The tower outside Seville, built and operated by Solcar, an Abengoa company, is the first of a number of solar thermal plants and will provide about 10 megawatts of power.

The company Sener is completing Andasol 1, the first parabolic trough plant in Europea 50-megawatt system outside Granada that will begin operation in the summer of 2008.

Unlike photovoltaic panels, which harness the movement of electrons between layers of a solar cell when the sun strikes the material, solar thermal power works by utilizing the heat of the sun. CSP has until recently cost nearly twice as much as traditional naturalgas or coal power plants, and it is effective only on a large scale.

“You need a very large budget to set up a concentrated solar power system,” says Eduardo Zarza, director of concentrating solar research at the Solar Platform of Almera (PSA in Spanish), a research, development, and testing center.