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11/29/2010
04:13 PM
Lamont Wood
Lamont Wood
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Ricoh Goes Green At California HQ

Printer vendor is installing a rooftop solar energy system on its headquarters building in California.

Printer vendor is installing a rooftop solar energy system on its headquarters building in California.Printer vendor Ricoh has announced that it is installing a rooftop solar energy system for its headquarters building in Tustin, Calif.. The conglomerate has two facilities in Japanese with solar power but this is its first in California.

The system should supply 10 percent of the building's energy, or 350,000 kilowatt-hours. It is expected to save Ricoh $56,000 per year and reduce its CO2 emissions by 98.1 metric tones yearly.

The sad fact is that stories like this are news-the day ought to come when, if you have flat roof, you put solar power generators on it as a matter of course, like putting overlapping shingles on a sloped roof as a matter of course.

The reason that day has not come is because of the gap between the price of grid power and solar power. The national average for a kilowatt hour from the grid is a little over 10 cents, and the cost of solar power is four times that. Hopefully this will change in the foreseeable future-by solar coming down rather than grid prices going up.

In the meantime, government subsidies and tax breaks can close the gap-and Japan and California are famous for granting them. And if that puts a different light on Ricoh's actions in Japan and California, I think it's unfair. What counts is commitment, and Ricoh has shown some. If two separate governments reward them, so much the better.

And, some day, hopefully, it won't be news.

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