Sep 28, 2016

Solar Visit to San Francisco: West Coast is the Best Coast

Solar homes just north of Berkeley 
My friend Valerie got married in Walnut Creek, just northeast of San Francisco on September 24, 2016. I was out there first and foremost for the wedding and to collect some Kuli Kuli merchandise. However, I never let a solar opportunity pass me up and there were plenty in California.

Above is the solar-powered MLK Student Union
As I was driving up from the San Jose Airport to downtown San Francisco, I almost stopped five times on Highway 101 to photo-document some of the amazing solar installations. However, it was a rental car and I needed to get accustomed to California drivers.

Solar cells integrated into the glass roof 
of  CA's Academy of Sciences 
provided some much needed shade
Once I made it to San Francisco, I got to go visit the Mission district, chill in Dolores Park, and go to Valerie's rehearsal dinner in Alameda. No solar but a lot of fun.

The next day, I went with my friend, Jaime, to Berkeley's campus. When we ascended the Safer Tower to get a view of the university, I realized just how much solar there was around Berkeley. From nearly every direction you looked out from the tower, there were residential and commercial solar installations. Jaime was interested in the overall view but once I began pointing the panels out, we were competing to spot the next installation.

The morning after the wedding, we decided to go to Golden Gate Park. There, we walked along the greens, visited the botanical gardens, and stopped by the California Academy of Sciences. Although I loved everything, the Academy of Sciences stood out because of its green roof and solar panels. These were integrated solar cells--a lot like what I saw at the National Academy of Sciences over a year and a half ago.

Click on this to see the cluster of homes
My final moments in San Francisco were spent at Golden Gate Heights Park overlooking the Sunset District. I saw a lot of solar homes but was elated to see 24,000 solar panels under the setting sun. This is the Sunset Reservoir Solar Project, an enormous project 5 Megawatts big--that's enough to power 820 American homes according to SEIA's calculations. Check out the photos below.

The amazing Sunset Reservoir Solar Project
In conclusion, Valerie's wedding was great and I saw a lot of solar. My humble opinion is that I should get paid to visit solar installations. I don't know how I'm going to go about finding the funders, but a boy can dream.

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