New travel idea: Solar California

California is a wonderful vacation destination, but visitors primarily associate the state with its major attractions, such as Disneyland, the Wine Country and Long Beach. However, California is extremely versatile in its attractions and specialties. Have you ever thought of solar California as a part of your travel itinerary? California is home to almost eighty percent of the US solar market and this aspect can be the basis for your extraordinary exploration of numerous solar projects, solar homes, solar roofs and solar cars.

The California Energy Crisis resulted in the search and development of new technologies, allowing to produce energy. Since 2001, California has felt an enormous interest in solar energy, its usage and what made this type of energy a basis for solar California present and sustainable future. The Institutes, solar centers and the government have joined hands to create efficient solar energy sources. By the government's decision there should be one million solar roofs in California by 2018. As of today, solar California has almost eighty percent of the US solar energy, generated by its already existing solar plants and roofs.

A tour of solar California is out-of-the-bitten-path travel that gives you a chance to get in touch with our major energy source, the sun, see how the technology works and enjoy the panoramic views of solar plants, rising high in the air like mighty towers. The Solar California travel is also a wonderful opportunity for researching, curious and adventurous California visitors, as it can be matched with scenic nature picnics, renowned California hiking, camping and countryside trips, next to solar plants that are commonly set in an open countryside.

One of these plants is located in the Mojave Valley, which has a very high concentration of sunlight throughout the year to be an appropriate place for a solar energy project. Located east of Barstow, California, near Daggett, this tall Solar 2 tower can be seen clearly from the Interstate Highways I-140 and I-15. How does it work? The solar energy is reflected from one thousand nine hundred and twenty six heliostats to focus on the receiver, which is set at the top of the tower.

The receiver contains silver nitrate that is heated from 550 F to 1050 F during long sunny days, and then is sent to a hot storage tank. The hot salt solution is then pumped to boil the water in the steam generator. This steam drives the turbines to produce the electricity. The cold salt solution returns to a cold salt storage tank, where it is returned when needed to the tower, to be heated again by the solar energy.

Your solar California travel can be expanded with visiting exhibitions of solar vehicles and business and residential buildings that use solar energy and open for touring. For this aim, you can visit the Fresno metro region, which is extensively uses solar electric and hot water systems, today numbered in over five hundred. The Solar Homes Tour provides the public access to solar-powered homes and businesses in the Fresno Region that displays how it works, what it costs and why it may be a good choice for your home. The tour of the Fresno region is an excellent possibility to experience the solar technology firsthand for the abundance of solar systems and an easy public access. Visit also Arcata, Eureka and places nearby to see solar-electric and solar hot water systems, employed in the region, and exhibitions of biodisel vehicles and electric vehicles.

The tours are offered by the Redwood Alliance with an office in Arcata (mwelch@redwoodalliance.org). Some other solar California regions with solar systems, available for public visits, include Long Beach, Monterey, Oakland, Palo Alto, San Francisco and San Luis Obispo.

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