Petaluma joins solar revolution

Geof Syphers got in his Chevy Volt Tuesday morning, like he does most days, and headed to the Sonoma Clean Power office in Santa Rosa. Later that morning, he traveled south to the Lavio family farm in west Petaluma and drove to the back of the property where about 4,000 solar panels had been installed earlier this year. They were generating one megawatt of electricity, enough to power 300 homes.

One of those homes belongs to Syphers, a Cotati resident and the CEO of SCP. His electric car is charged solely by the sun’s energy, and it was the kind of commute Syphers is hoping will become a mainstay for residents throughout region.

“Building inside Sonoma County has been a goal from the beginning,” Syphers said. “This is the first (solar project) that we have finished. So one of the things that excites me is just being able to see this through, all the way from the plan through the construction and see it finally serving customers.”

This week, SCP and developer Coldwell Solar hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at one of the two solar power plants recently constructed in Petaluma, the first of their kind for the nonprofit electricity provider for Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

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