PowerLight Furnishes 230kW Solar Electric System on Health and Human Services Building in Fairfield
Fairfield, CA -- Today, California Secretary of the Environment Winston Hickox joined with Solano County officials to dedicate the County's new solar rooftop installation, located atop the Health and Social Services Building in Fairfield. The 230 kW solar electric system, built by PowerLight Corporation of Northern California, is the first phase of a 350 kW solar power project, and provides enough electricity during the day to power over 200 homes. The County's new cogeneration system, along extensive energy-efficiency upgrades, will ultimately generate the equivalent energy to power over 3,000 homes when the project is completed in 2004.
"Renewable resources are integral to securing our energy independence and security. Solano County has been at the forefront of communities championing renewable energy and conservation," noted California EPA Secretary Hickox. "Their efforts exemplify how local municipalities and counties are setting new standards for responsible energy management."
"By equipping our facilities with renewable resources to generate power, Solano County is reducing operating costs, while meeting our sustainable building goals," said Chairman of the Solano County's Board of Supervisors Duane Kromm. "Thanks to our deployment of solar power, innovative energy efficiency measures and cogeneration, Solano County anticipates savings of more than $800,000 a year, while reducing the demand for energy from high-polluting fossil fuel sources such as oil, gas and coal," said Michael Johnson, County Administrator, County of Solano.
"Solar power is an increasingly smart, cost-effective energy solution that shields us from future volatility in the utility marketplace," said Dan Shugar, President of PowerLight Corporation.
Solano County is contributing to California's sustainability through an extensive program of solar electricity, energy efficiency and cogeneration. In addition to solar generation, the County's comprehensive approach to energy management includes expanding the Fairfield campus' combined heat and power system from 1,450 kW to over 2,500 kW, and upgrading its outdated facilities with state-of-the-art energy efficient buildings with new new chillers, lighting, controls and air distribution systems. With annual electricity and natural gas costs on the order of $1 per square foot, Solano County has one of the most efficient government centers in California.
Solano County project managers — in collaboration with Viron Energy Services and PowerLight Corporation — identified the new H&SS building as an ideal structure for incorporating on-site solar generation. Covering 18,000 square feet, this solar array is one of the largest systems in Solano County, and provides up to 30% of the building's electrical requirements.
This lightweight building-integrated PV (BIPV) assembly produces clean power for the facilities and is virtually maintenance free. In addition to generating electricity, the system also insulates the building, thus reducing the cost of heating and air conditioning, while extending the life of the roof.
The 18,000 square foot solar array makes innovative use of an unused asset — the roof of the building — to generate distributed on-site electricity. This solar electric system provides 30% percent of the facility's electricity needs, especially during times of highest demand in hot summer months. Overall, the solar system's will reduce Solano's annual energy consumption — shaving their peak demand significantly. The County anticipates utility savings of $800,000 or more every year, with an estimated savings of almost $16,000,000 over the lifetime of the system.
Not only is this a substantial financial rate of return, it's an environmentally sound solution. This new project successfully achieves the County's mission of reducing demand for energy from the utility grid, lowering operating costs and improving air quality. By avoiding the purchase of fossil-fuel generated electricity, Solano County's solar electric system spares the environment from thousands of tons of harmful emissions, such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide, which are major contributors to smog, acid rain and global warming. In addition, the project eliminates chillers containing ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons. Over the next 25 years, this combined energy project will reduce carbon dioxide by nearly 34,000 tons. These emissions reductions are equivalent to planting 10,000 acres of trees or not driving 84 million miles on California's roadways.
Solano County's energy project is being funded in part with incentives provided by the California Energy Commission's Emerging Renewables Program.
PowerLight Corporation is the nation's leading designer, manufacturer and installer of grid-connected solar electric systems. Founded in 1991, PowerLight's distributed generation products produce reliable, affordable clean power for businesses and government agencies worldwide. Inc Magazine has ranked PowerLight Corporation among the top 500 fastest growing privately held companies in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Today, PowerLight has worldwide offices and a full line of commercial solar electric products.