Pasadena Solar Initiative


The Pasadena Solar Initiative generates revenue for the city by renting space for utilities to install solar panels on public buildings.  The City will allow utilities to install solar panels on suitable public building and sell the electricity to the grid.  In exchange, the utility will pay the city one to two cents per kilo-watt hour generated in this manner.  The City pays nothing up-front and transforms otherwise unused space into a source of revenue.

This arrangement could be beneficial for both the city and utility.  For example, the pavilion in memorial park could generate roughly 300 KWhrs per day–or over 100,000 KWhrs per year–netting the City $1,000-$2,000 for just standing there.  This may not seem like much, but given the extent of city property, it adds up fast.  Renting roof space on all city buildings could generate in the realm of $100,000 for the city each year.

However, the greatest profit potential lies in city parks and parking.  The city of Pasadena owns hundreds of acres of land.  Allowing utilities to build steel structures on that property and install solar panels would not only provide much-needed shade and help manage run-off from heavy rain, but also provide the city with millions of dollars in revenue each year.  For example, the parking lot surrounding the Pasadena Convention Center on Red Bluff Road could generate $25-50,000 each year.


  1. Perform Solar Assessment:  Catalogue all city buildings and properties suitable for solar, and calculate their generation potential.
  2. Contract Utility Partners:  Contact all major utility companies and proposition them to install solar on specific city properties.  Negotiate a ten-year contract to rent a given property for 1-2 cents per KWhr.
  3. Invest in Further Projects:  Purchase additional properties for urban renewal and beautification, specifically designed to incorporate solar power.



The Pasadena Solar Initiative will require the Department of Public Works to perform an assessment of all city properties and determine the generation potential for each.  This can be achieved using an online tool listed in the reference section of this proposal, or, the city can hire a professional consultant.

The city will also need to establish a position in the Department of Public Works with the authority to manage the relationship between the City of Pasadena and its utility partners.  This position will work closely with the Mayor and City Council for the negotiation and enforcement of contracts, and to receive proposals for solar projects within the city.

Looking Forward

The cost of solar power is falling exponentially, and is already competitive with coal in our area.  The price of solar is expected to halve by 2017, and then again every three to four years after that.  Thus, as solar use expands, the cost of peak electricity in that area will begin to fall.  This will make that area more attractive to businesses and residents alike.

Solar Renewal and Beautification projects will create jobs and attract business to the City of Pasadena.  Solar also has the benefit of providing much needed shade and relief from the oppressive heat.  This will encourage citizens to be more active during the hot summer months and increase economic activity.

Tools and References

Solar Roof Calculator:  An online application that allows you to outline an area on a map to find out the amount of solar power that can be generated.

CPS Solar Program:  A San Antonio Municipal Utility, CPS Energy, is offering its customers credits on their electricity bill for allowing them to install solar panels on their roofs:


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