Monday, October 03, 2005

NorCal homes to get Solar Panels

What the California Legislature failed to do to bring solar energy to people's homes, the private sector is accomplishing on its own.

Pardee Homes, which is in the midst of rallying support for its controversial housing project in North Livermore, unveiled detailed plans on Friday for what could be the largest solar-powered community in the United States.

All 2,450 homes would be equipped with about 48 solar panels each. The panels would provide enough energy to cut electricity bills by 50 to 70 percent, officials said during a press conference that critics dubbed a publicity stunt.

The extensive solar power capabilities of the community is a step in the direction of making new homes with no net increase in energy use, said Joe Desmond, chairman of the California Energy Commission. "This is not just a model for the community but also the state and the nation," Desmond said.