I recently read an article in the NY Times demonstrating California’s ability to take the lead in a green solution that can benefit homes and businesses. California has taken the initiative to take unusable farmland and convert the land to solar “farms”. For example, farmers and a public agency that supplies the water to farms have agreed to provide land for one of the world’s largest solar energy complexes. The EPA and other states are also considering using landfills and other toxic sites for renewable energy programs to avoid pushback from developers and environmentalists.

Utilizing the land for solar panels benefits the farmers. In some areas of California there is not enough water for all the farmers, so by leasing their land for solar panels they can transition their crops to other parts of their farm, reduce the amount of water needed, and lessen some of their debt load. The solar farms have the attention of large solar panel manufacturers hungry for the business. According to the article, if CA transitions 9,000 farm acres to solar panels that would generate 600 to 1,000 megawatts of electricity. To put that in perspective the article indicates that one megawatt is enough to power a Wal-Mart Supercenter. Of course this transition does not come without costs, and to accommodate the maximum usage from the solar panels private and public sectors should be prepared to contribute to make this a success.
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Lindsey Fandozzi

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