The Top 10 San Diego Cleantech Milestones of 2012


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the untapped renewable energy of California’s Imperial Valley. With the San Onofre nuclear power plant indefinitely shut down, the $1.9 billion power line is expected to bring more than 1,000 megawatts of power to San Diego, enough to serve more than 650,000 homes.

7) San Diego County now hosts more than 200 solar companies, ranging from photovoltaic panel makers like Kyocera and Soitec, to installation and solar leasing firms. In 2012, Kyocera surpassed production of 2 million solar panels while Soitec opened its utility-scale concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) manufacturing facility in suburban Rancho Bernardo. Solar continues to be a key sector for the region’s clean technology success, with installations throughout San Diego County exceeding 132 megawatts (MW).

8) The EDGE (Educating and Developing Workers for the Green Economy) Initiative, a regional consortium developed to help meet employment needs in the biofuels industry, completed its second year of workforce training. After creating both curriculum and career-focused tools for the unemployed, underemployed, and transitioning workers, EDGE has trained more than 300 and placed more than 100 in permanent positions.

9) The San Diego City Council voted to approve several Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program options for commercial property owners. The programs, administered by vendors such as CaliforniaFIRST, Figtree Energy Resource, Ygrene Energy Fund, and Renovate America, allow commercial property owners to use municipal bonds to help finance energy efficiency improvement projects. Private financing provides the upfront capital needed for the retrofits, so local government remains unburdened. Property owners pay for the retrofits through assessments added to their annual property tax bill, and benefit from increased building values, improved energy efficiency and lower energy costs. San Diego is now one of the most robust retrofit markets in California for such projects.

10) Honeywell brought 70 internationally selected middle school teachers to San Diego last summer as part of its annual Green Boot Camp, a five-day workshop that focuses on best practices for teaching environmental and sustainability concepts. This workshop helps train teachers in a variety of interactive experiences, such as designing and building a solar house and wind turbine. It’s one more sign that San Diego is becoming a bigger draw for multinational companies that view the mild sunbelt climate and diverse clean technology clusters here as ideal for training clean technology professionals, educators, and students.


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Jim Waring is a co-founder and executive chairman of CleanTECH San Diego, a non-profit industry association established to stimulate renewable energy technologies, cleantech, and sustainable industry practices in the greater San Diego region. Follow @

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