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How long have you worked at SDG&E? 

Since 2006.

What do you like most about working here? 

The work culture, I love that employees take pride in what they do.

What’s the most interesting thing about your job?

I get to see first hand how my group’s work impacts our customers.

What’s the most common misconception you think people have about working for a utility company?


How long have you worked at SDG&E? 

Since 2011.

What do you like most about working here?

The teamwork and support I receive from my colleagues and supervisor is remarkable.  It's my family away from home.

What’s the most interesting thing about your job?

I have the pleasure of meeting new people every day.  I thoroughly enjoy working with them on different ways to conserve energy.

Smart City San Diego & San Diego Zoo Unveil Solar to Electric Vehicle Charging Project

Clean Transportation, Community, Electric, Environmental

SAN DIEGO, September 5, 2012 – Smart City San Diego and the San Diego Zoo today announced they will install a solar photovoltaic canopy that will charge electric vehicles (EV) in the Zoo parking lot. Smart City San Diego is a collaboration that combines the resources of San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), City of San Diego, GE, UC San Diego and CleanTECH San Diego to drive projects forward that improve the region’s energy independence, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and assert San Diego as a clean energy leader. 

“The Smart City San Diego Solar-to-EV project is a prime example of what can be achieved by combining the talent, resources and commitment of a diverse group of public and private sector organizations,” said Mayor Jerry Sanders, City of San Diego. “Housed at the San Diego Zoo, one of our region’s most celebrated landmarks, this project will further demonstrate our clean energy leadership to the rest of the world.”

The Solar-to-EV project began construction on Sept. 4. One of the first of its kind in the region, the project will harness energy from the sun to directly charge plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), store solar power for future use and provide renewable energy to the surrounding community. Located at the iconic San Diego Zoo in the heart of the city’s world-renowned Balboa Park, the Solar-to-EV project will serve as a new energy infrastructure blueprint that can be replicated throughout the region and beyond.

“Experts say that by 2020 we could see more than 200,000 plug-in EVs in our region,” said Jim Avery, senior vice president of power supply for SDG&E.  “The Zoo has been forward-thinking about creating a sustainable future for our children to enjoy, so collaborating on this solar project was a natural fit.  It will demonstrate new technology, and provide guests with a way to charge their EVs with clean energy while they visit the Zoo.”

The project will incorporate 10 solar canopies producing 90 kilowatts (kW) of electricity, as well as five EV charging stations.  Using new battery technology, a 100-kW energy storage system will be charged by the solar canopies and used to offset power demands on the grid to charge the vehicles.  When the battery is full, the excess solar energy that is generated will be put onto the electric grid to improve reliability and benefit the surrounding community.  The solar canopies also provide shade to approximately 50 cars in the Zoo’s southeast parking area.  One of the project’s charging stations is located in a nearby ADA-accessible parking space. 

At peak production, the Solar-to-EV project will produce enough energy to power 59 homes. The clean energy produced is equivalent to removing 189,216 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year, or the same as planting 2,788 trees annually. For additional comparison, the greenhouse gas emissions savings from the electricity produced is equivalent to removing 21 cars from the road each year.  Furthermore, PEVs when driven on electricity offer zero tailpipe emissions and no emissions overall when the electricity is directly from solar power.

The Solar-to-EV project not only aims to encourage EV drivers to visit the Zoo and Balboa Park, but will also provide  displays onsite and online to educate visitors about the usefulness of batteries that can store solar energy, the benefits of driving EVs, and the role that the system plays in driving sustainability forward. The system will serve as a cornerstone in the San Diego Zoo’s ongoing efforts to encourage the application of sustainable design driven by science and the natural world.

“As part of our ongoing effort to be a conservation leader, San Diego Zoo is delighted to be part of a project that sets the stage for the future,"  said John Dunlap, Director of the San Diego Zoo.  "By providing a sustainable energy mechanism at a well-known destination like the Zoo, we are not only raising awareness for this technology but we are making this option available to guests that we host from all over the world.”

The project will be owned and managed by SDG&E’s Sustainable Communities Program, which promotes local solar installations and green building design and construction throughout the region. The charging stations are part of The EV Project and will be owned by the program’s administrator. In keeping with Smart City San Diego’s economic development goals, the project will use local vendors for design and construction and create 35 jobs during construction.

About Smart City San Diego

Smart City San Diego is a collaboration combining the resources of the City of San Diego, San Diego Gas & Electric, GE, UC San Diego and CleanTECH San Diego. Together, these leading organizations from government, business, education and non-profit are maximizing synergies to drive existing energy programs forward, identify new opportunities, embrace additional collaborators and move the San Diego region beyond today’s boundaries of sustainability. Visit the Smart City San Diego website at www.SmartCitySD.org.

About The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Conservancy

The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy is dedicated to bringing endangered species back from the brink of extinction. The work of the Conservancy includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, and international field programs in more than 35 countries. In addition, San Diego Zoo Global manages the Anne and Kenneth Griffin Reptile Conservation Center, the Frozen ZooTM, Native Seed Gene Bank, the Keauhou and Maui Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Centers, the San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike Breeding Facility, the Cocha Cashu Biological Research Station, the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center, and a 800-acre biodiversity reserve adjacent to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.


Fact Sheets: 
Smart City San Diego Solar to EV Zoo Fact Sheet
Smart City San Diego to EV Zoo (FAQ)
Smart City San Diego Solar to EV Zoo Project Rendering
Usage Rights: 
SDG&E and Smart City San Diego Unveil New Solar-to-EV Project at the San Diego Zoo

NEM - Optional Rate DR SES Authorization Form

SDG&E Renews Air-Crane Support for Regional Firefighters

City, County Officials and Fire Agencies Join Utility to Announce Cooperative Firefighting Agreement

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 5, 2012 – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) today announced it has renewed agreements with the County and City of San Diego and firefighting agencies to continue to make a heavy-lift air-crane available to support fire suppression efforts this fire season.  An Erickson Air-Crane helitanker, the “Sun Bird,” was used by SDG&E during construction of the Sunrise Powerlink.  Now that the transmission line construction is complete, the aircraft will be on standby and dispatched for firefighting assistance as needed.    

“We’ve seen the capability of this amazing aircraft in attacking fast-moving fires in remote parts of our county in recent years and we’re pleased to have the Sun Bird available to help protect our communities should we face another major wildfire,” said Michael R. Niggli, SDG&E’s president and chief operating officer.  “This is just one element in our ongoing commitment to work collaboratively with local officials and fire agencies on enhancing our overall fire readiness.”

 “Having a heavy-lift helicopter available again during this fire season enhances the County’s firefighting capability immeasurably,” said Chairman Ron Roberts of the San County Board of Supervisors.  “We appreciate and applaud SDG&E for again stepping up to support the county’s fire preparedness efforts.”

The air tanker again will be equipped with firefighting capabilities, with the capacity to carry and drop up to 2,500 gallons of water on a fire.  In comparison, the largest helicopter in San Diego now has the capacity to carry only 375 gallons.

SDG&E has renewed two cooperative agreements that establish protocols for the use of the air-crane during critical fire emergencies – similar to those that have been in place for the last two years.  The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between SDG&E and the City of San Diego establishes that the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department will be the lead agency that would dispatch the Sun Bird to a wildfire upon request.

“It is great news that SDG&E’s air tanker will be available again this fall,” said Chief Javier Mainar of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.  “The carrying capacity of the aircraft, which can make pinpoint water drops on the wildfires, is a major game-changer because it allows us to attack the fire early and hard.”

The pilots and mechanics, which will be provided by Erickson Air-Crane, are trained to maneuver this type of helicopter for both utility construction and precision water-dropping to target wild-land fires.  If the helitanker is not needed for fire-fighting, it could be used for electrical transmission work.

A second MOU between SDG&E and the County of San Diego establishes a $300,000 operating budget for fire season, with SDG&E covering the cost to operate the helicopter during the first two hours of any new fire and the County of San Diego covering the second two hours. 

SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 840,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties.  The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles.  SDG&E is committed to creating ways to help our customers save energy and money every day.  SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.

For more on the Sun Bird, please visit our photo and video page.


SDG&E's Sun Bird helps battle the Cowboy Fire in September 2010

Community, General, Sunrise Powerlink

Regional fire officials requested SDG&E to send its Erickson Air-Crane, the Sun Bird, to help fight a fast-moving brushfire near the U-S Mexico border. The Sun Bird made several water drops on the Cowboy Fire, which started Sept. 2, 2010 and burned more than 800 acres near the communities of Campo and Potrero before being contained four days later.

Sun Bird Video


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