Cities and counties embrace solar energy, save millions in utility costs
HILLSBORO, Ore., June 12, 2012 – City and county governments across the nation are tapping solar panels from SolarWorld, the largest U.S. solar manufacturer for more than 35 years, to power vital public services. At hospitals, administrative buildings, waste-water treatment plants and jails, forward-looking municipalities have installed nearly 2.5 megawatts of the company's high-performance, American-made solar panels since April, recognizing their ability to save taxpayers millions of dollars in energy costs and make substantial contributions to environmental quality.
In May, the California's Santa Barbara County dedicated a 1-MW solar array at its Camino Real campus, home of its jail, sheriff's department, three public hospitals and several administrative offices. Endelos Energy of Buellton, Calif., designed the project and installed its 4,500 SolarWorld solar panels on a hillside overlooking state Highway 101 and the Pacific Ocean. The system is expected to offset about one-third of the campus' energy needs, saving an estimated $12 million over the life of the system and reducing the county's carbon-dioxide emissions by millions of pounds.
"This solar installation represents a tremendous investment in Santa Barbara County's economic and environmental future," said Roy Hapeman, the county's energy manager. "We selected solar panels from SolarWorld, a company that has been manufacturing high-quality products in the U.S. since 1975, to ensure an excellent return on that investment over the next 25 years."
Local officials in Baltimore, Md., unveiled a 1-MW ground-mounted solar installation at the city's Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant in April. The solar installation is expected to save more than $6 million over the life of the project and help the city reach its goal of generating 30 percent of its own electricity. The solar system is part of a comprehensive energy-savings program through Johnson Controls, a global leader in delivering solutions that increase efficiency in buildings. The program includes enhancements to multiple Baltimore municipal facilities, such as courthouses, fire stations and office buildings.
In the city of Galena, Ill., a 368-kilowatt solar installation featuring SolarWorld solar panels is under construction at the municipal waste-water treatment plant. The photovoltaic system, designed and installed by SolarWorld Authorized Installer Eagle Point Solar of Dubuque, Iowa, will go live by early August. It is expected to offset half of the facility's energy needs and save the city almost $500,000 over the next 25 years. The system is Eagle Point Solar's second municipal installation in the last 12 months, following on the heels of an array comprised of 203 kilowatts worth of SolarWorld solar panels on the roof of the City Operations Center in Dubuque, Iowa, in late 2011.
"The prevalence of these municipal solar arrays in communities from coast to coast signals the arrival of solar technology as a vital power source for mainstream civic life," said Kevin Kilkelly, president of SolarWorld Americas. "Progressive city and county governments are embracing solar energy for its ability to produce not only measureable reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions but to guard against rising energy costs, saving millions of taxpayer dollars."
About SolarWorld (www.SolarWorld.com):
SolarWorld (ISIN: DE0005108401) is a worldwide leader in offering brand-name, high-quality, crystalline silicon solar-power technology. The company's strength is its fully integrated solar production. From silicon as the raw material through wafers, cells and panels all the way to turn-key solar systems of all sizes, the group combines all stages of the solar value chain. The central business activity is selling high-quality panels into the installation and distribution trades and wafers to the international solar cell industry. Group headquarters are located in Bonn, Germany, with sales sites in Singapore, South Africa, Spain, France as well as in the U.S. state of California. The group's largest production facilities operate in Freiberg, Germany, and Hillsboro in the U.S. state of Oregon. Sustainability is the basis of the group strategy. Under the name Solar2World, the group supports community aid projects using off-grid solar-power solutions in developing countries, exemplifying sustainable economic development. Worldwide, SolarWorld employs about 3,300 people. SolarWorld AG has been quoted on the stock exchange since 1999 and today is listed on, among others, the TecDAX and ÖkoDAX as well as in the sustainability index NAI.