Sacramento Clean Energy

Top 10 Reasons Why Sacramento Is A Leader In Clean Energy

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted March 9, 2012

The city of Sacramento is the capital of the state of California. It is the sixth largest city in the state and houses the fourth largest metropolitan area in the state. Sacramento is also one of the most racially and ethnically integrated cities in the United States. Sacramento quickly rose to fame during the Gold Rush era as it was a primary distribution point. Today, the city is known for its agriculture, commercial business, and its growing culture, including food, music, and art. The city is also known for the large number of clean technology highlights, including energy efficiency and renewable energy. Here are ten of the biggest highlights for the city of Sacramento, California.

1 ) Numerous Solar Energy Companies. As the top solar energy providing state in the United States, it is quite normal that Sacramento would house a number of solar energy companies that aid homes and businesses. REC Solar is one of the main solar installation companies, specializing in grid-tied solar electric designs and installations utilizing the latest technology, equipment, and financing opportunities for both residential and commercial customers. Another company is Aztec Solar Inc. which provides solar energy solutions as well for residential and commercial clients. Aztec offers some of the best solar technologies and products on the market, including solar electric, solar pool heating, and solar water heating.

2 ) Sacramento Increases Number of ChargePoint Charging Stations for Electric Vehicles. in 2010, Coulomb Technologies announced the installation of ChargePoint network electric vehicle charging stations throughout the city of Sacramento as part of its ChargePoint America Program. “My vision is to make Sacramento the Emerald Valley – the greenest region in the country and the hub of green technology. A networked infrastructure that supports electric vehicles is essential to this vision. Not only will these ChargePoint stations achieve this goal but will provide employment to this region for the installation. I’d like to commend Priority Parking for their commitment to being green, and thank them for helping to bring the ChargePoint America program to Sacramento,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. According to Richard Lowenthal, CEO of Coulomb Technologies, Sacramento is where standards for air quality, transportation and infrastructure are set not only for Calfornia, but the nation…It is only fitting that Sacramento will be a model EV-ready city as major automakers introduce exciting new electric vehicles. I’m proud to add that this is creating new economy jobs and that these products are designed in California, manufactured in California, and installed by Californians.”

3 ) Energy Commission Awards Sacramento with EV Planning Grant. In February of 2012, the California Energy Commission granted $200,000 to Sacramento to continue the promotion of the utilization of plug-in electric vehicles. This grant will go toward assisting local planners in deciding where to add charging stations throughout the county, as well as streamline the process of getting permits as well as installation and inspection of charging stations. Prior to the grant money, there were long wait times for inspections to approve residential chargers as well as a lack of coordinated planning when it came to commercial property installations. The grant will go toward created the Capital Area Plug-in Electric Vehicle Coordination Council to speed up the processes.

4 ) Sacramento LEED Buildings. The city of Sacramento, California currently has more than 40 LEED certified buildings that meet the standards of the United States Green Building Council. A majority of these buildings have received Gold or Silver Certification for LEED New Construction Certified or LEED Existing Building Certified. A few buildings have received LEED for Commercial Interiors. Three buildings have received Platinum Certification – CalEPA, Central Utility Plant, and the Department of Education Capitol Area East End Complex.

5 ) Sustainable Sacramento. Sustainable Sacramento is part of the City of Sacramento’s Department of general Services. This is a primary location for residents and businesses in Sacramento to learn all about all the sustainability projects and initiatives going on within the city. Program areas where individuals can learn more information include water conservation, green building programs, climate action plan, renewable energy, recycling and composting, as well as parks.

6 ) Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies. The Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies is located in Sacramento, California. It is a partnership of some of the top environmental groups as well as clean energy companies from the private sector. Established in 1990, this nonprofit organization carries out “technical, policy-making, and policy-implementing work through advocacy programs that focus on key renewable energy development issues.” Programs the Center for Energy Efficient and Renewable Technologies is active in include distributed generation, state climate policies, smart grid programs, renewables transmission planning and development, reduced coal use, solar and wind power development, as well as cleaner transportation and alternate fuels.

7 ) Federal Government Awards Sacramento with Millions for Alternative Energy. In January of 2010, the federal government awarded Sacramento with $5 million in stimulus funding for a number of alternative energy projects, including the first solar highway in the state. This highway will be a system of numerous solar photovoltaic panels along the freeway. Other projects include the building of facilities for sustainable biogas energy production from food as well as dairy animal waste.

8 ) Largest Solar Project gets Built in the City. In April of 2011, a number of state, city, and public utility officials came together to start the construction of the largest private solar power installation in all of Sacramento. This three megawatt project will provide electricity to Depot Park, a three million square foot industrial and commercial complex in the southern part of the city. It is a 12,600 panel array producing enough electricity to meet around 40 percent of the annual electricity demand for the entire Depot Park. It is also one of the largest ground mounted tracking solar projects in the entire state of California. The project is going to save over 3,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, equivalent to removing 696 vehicles from the road.

9 ) SolarCity Builds Large Operations Facility in Sacramento. In January of 2011, SolarCity announced that it would be building a new operations center in the city of Sacramento and would be also offering energy efficiency services to all area homeowners. Homeowners will be able to buy a home energy efficiency package, which includes a home energy audit, duct and air sealing, efficient light bulbs, programmable thermostat, and pipe insulation. “Since 2007, we’ve undertaken more than 700 solar projects in the Sacramento area, ranging from major manufacturing facilities and retail outlets, to hundreds of residential projects,” said SolarCity regional director Dennis Cox. “Sacramento is an ideal market for energy efficiency – homeowners have access to some of the best rebates and incentives, and have an opportunity to reduce their electric bill in more ways than one.”

10 ) Sacramento Installs Energy Efficient Lighting in Parking Garages. In August of 2011, Sacramento began the installation process of LED lights in five of eight public parking garages throughout the city. In total, this project will save more than $1 million over the course of 11 years. This project will also reduce electricity usage by over 50 percent.

Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He is also author of The 2012 Cleantech Directory. He can be reached at