NOVATO (KPIX 5) — An old abandoned quarry behind the town of Novato is called a “brown site” because asbestos in the rock makes it unusable for most purposes.

But Frank Gobar and Roy Phillips have figured out a way to turn the brown site green. They’ve turned it into a solar farm and now they’re the co-owners of Cooley Quarry solar farm.

Gobar said, “It lends itself quite well. It has no trees. It’s an area that has no particular use because of the soil’s condition.”

The brand-new facility will contain more than 6,000 solar panels and generate about 1 megawatt of electricity when it goes online in about 30 days.

That’s enough to power 300 homes.

And because it’s tucked out of sight and producing renewable energy, there haven’t been the typical complaints from Marin County residents.

Marin Clean Energy, the local power utility in the area, contracted for the power with a program called “Local Sol” for its most environmentally-conscious clientele.

Marin Clean Energy’s director of public affairs Jamie Tuckey said, “Local Sol is the service option that customers can sign up for to get 100% of their energy from the Cooley Solar site.”

So what difference does it makes where your power comes from? Well, it turns out a significant amount of electricity is lost the farther it has to travel.  It may be a bit theoretical, but energy-conscious customers know they are being most efficient when it’s generated in their own back yard.

Gobar and Phillips used to be competitors but now they’re teaming up to create projects like this, which they believe will be the wave of the future.

Phillips said, “Yeah, this is the pilot for many others…not just for us but others as well…It’s starting here.”

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