By: Tina Casey
Two of the world’s solar energy leaders have just announced major plans to bring new solar energy technology and green jobs to San Diego. The Sanyo Electric group has embarked on a three year, $3 million partnership with the University of California, San Diego on next-generation solar energy systems and management, and in a separate development, solar cell efficiency wizard Kyocera has started up a solar module manufacturing plant in the city, aiming to produce about 30 megawatts annually.
As an interesting twist, the news comes shortly after Arizona, in a move reminiscent of Russia’s notorious natural gas cutoff to Europe, recently threatened to cut off power to southern California in a dispute over Arizona’s dubious new immigration law. We all know that solar energy and other rewnewables will cut our dependence on foreign oil, but the long term impact of localized, sustainable energy production on relations between the 50 United States is only just emerging.
Sanyo and UCSD on Solar Energy
According to Mike Lee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Sanyo partnership aims to make San Diego “the most advanced green city in the world” by focusing on solar energy’s “missing link,” which is the ability of a solar energy system to provide a steady, reliable stream of power even when the sun is not shining. The solution lies in a combination of new solar energy collection, storage, and transmission technologies. As part of the new venture, Sanyo will provide UCSD with high tech “smart energy batteries” that are about the size of a DVD player. Another part focuses on creating a highly trained green jobs force in the U.S. that can keep Sanyo in its leadership position.
Green Jobs, Solar Energy and Fossil Fuel
Between the British Petroleum oil spill’s impact on the economy of the Gulf region and the devastating long term effects of coal mining on the Appalachian region, evidence is mounting that fossil fuels have gone past the day when they drove the U.S. economy forward and they are now acting as an oppressive force that beats down employment instead of creating it. The latest jobs report, with temp jobs at the U.S. Census the only bright spot, pretty much nails it. As called for by President Obama at his recent speech in Pittsburgh, the time is now to pull back on tax breaks for job destroyers, and start focusing on the green jobs of the future.
Image: San Diego post card by hellochris on flickr.com.