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Home > Feature Articles > Alternative Energy Solutions > Solar Energy

PG&G Launches First US Solar-Powered Billboard in San Francisco

Pacific Gas and Electric Company has launched the nation’s first solar-powered billboard.

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Pacific Gas and Electric Company has launched the nation’s first solar-powered billboard. The San Francisco, Ca billboard is part of the utility’s new advertising campaign, titled “We Can Do This”, which features information about a variety of programs and services PG&E offers that reflect the company’s commitment to the environment.

Greg Pruett, senior vice president of corporate relations at PG&E Corporation said, "With this solar-powered billboard – the nation’s first – we increase the amount of clean, renewable energy we provide our customers. We also hope to capture the imagination of Americans about the actionable steps one can take to reduce their environmental impact."

The nation’s first solar-powered billboard is prominently located at 1000 Brannan Street in San Francisco, visible from the Highway 101 9th Street exit. It is outfitted with 20 solar modules that can provide up to 3.4 kilowatts of renewable solar energy to the PG&E grid. The power generated by the system exceeds the power used at night to illuminate the billboard’s lights. In addition to installing solar, PG&E replaced the billboard’s halophane light fixtures with energy-efficient LED lights.

Solar power is a core element in California’s response to meeting increased electric demand and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The solar panels, provided by SunTech Power, collect direct current (DC) electricity from the sun’s rays. Using a Fronius IG 3000 grid-tie inverter, the renewable energy is converted to alternating current (AC) power and fed into the electricity grid.

With the debut of PG&E’s solar-powered billboard, the United States joins Canada and South Africa as the only countries worldwide to utilize solar technology in this innovative way. Unlike the two Canadian solar-powered billboards located in Vancouver and Toronto, PG&E’s billboard is interconnected to the grid, providing renewable energy to the utility’s customers. The South African solar-powered billboard is also interconnected.

With more than 18,000 customer solar interconnections, representing more than 153 megawatts of generation, PG&E is the leading solar utility in the nation. PG&E proudly provides its customers with among the cleanest energy in the nation.

On average, more than 50 percent of the energy PG&E delivers to its customers emits zero carbon dioxide. PG&E currently supplies 12 percent of its energy from qualifying renewable sources under California's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) program and the company is well on its way to reaching its renewable energy portfolio of 20 percent delivered or under contract by 2010. Through its leading energy efficiency and demand response programs, the company has helped prevent more than 125 million tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, while saving its customers nearly $20 billion.

To see how you can become involved in helping to slow climate change, visit

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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