Hoping to encourage the use of solar energy among residents, the City Council approved the promotion and implementation of a residential photovoltaic system. Pleasanton is joining Livermore in sponsoring the Tri-Valley Solar program, which was designed by Spectrum Energy Inc., an Elk Grove-based energy services company that specializes in designing and installing energy-efficient measures.
Both cities plan to focus on residential customers, since the majority of general inquiries in Pleasanton and Livermore are from residents. Once the marketing materials are created, the program should be ready shortly, Pleasanton Mayor Jennifer Hosterman said.
"We're going to see a program in place that people will be able to take advantage of almost immediately," she said.
Spectrum has designed a customer-friendly, community-wide system for residents interested in installing solar energy systems. Each city contributed $20,000 toward its design. The program will direct property owners to find out whether their roofs are suitable to install a solar system, what rebates are available, and what vendors to contact.
And despite what transpired at the recent council meeting, during which representatives from two solar energy companies pitched the council on becoming the sole provider for the Solar Cities program, residents will most likely be given a list of several providers from which to choose.
The idea for establishing a community-wide solar energy program originated in Livermore after the council heard a presentation by Marin County-based Cooperative Community Energy. That cooperative, sponsored by Sustainable Fairfax, helped encourage the establishment of Solar Sebastopol, a community-wide program that makes it easier for property owners to invest in solar power.
The group encouraged Livermore to follow the same renewable energy path. Pleasanton and Livermore officials are hoping that San Ramon and Dublin may join them in the solar program in the future.
"This really is an acknowledgment that climate change is something that we all need to address and the only way we can adequately address it at the very local levels," Hosterman said.
"This allows us to reduce our carbon footprint in a very meaningful way."
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, solar energy is a environmentally sustainable, renewable source of electricity that uses photovoltaic systems to convert sunlight into electricity. Solar energy helps reduce pollution, stabilize electric costs and decrease dependence on fossil fuels.