SALINAS, Calif., April 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The City of Salinas, CA, celebrated a major milestone in the implementation of its ongoing energy program with OpTerra Energy Services during a dedication event at their new solar farm on Monday. Since its inception in 2014, the heart of the comprehensive energy program has been focused on using energy as a platform to revitalize neighborhoods, build regional collaboration, and reduce the City's impact on the environment. As a result of solar, energy efficiency, and other energy conservation technology upgrades across the city, Salinas will save $22 million in energy and maintenance costs over the span of the 25-year life of the program.
Building Capacity for a Brighter City
Although clean energy production has driven the development of the City program, the long term goals are focused on using energy as a foundation to power positive health and sustainability impacts across the Salinas Valley as a whole. A complete retrofit of all the City's existing streetlights to more energy efficient LEDs, for example, reduces budgetary strains associated with maintaining older, less efficient fixtures while brightening roadways to enhance the safety and comfort of residents.
Speakers at Monday's event commended the City for its regional leadership improving aging infrastructure and building capacity. With its focus on reducing financial pressure on the General Fund, the City has been able to redirect energy savings to increase funding for vital, ongoing community services like safety and education outreach. In addition to saving more than $1 million on utility expenses in the first year of the program, new sources of revenue have become available as a result of the City's new, renewable energy generation.
Facilities Modernization Yields Job Creation
At Monday's celebration, City administration and OpTerra personnel highlighted some of the most visible changes resulting from the energy program, including the 6,000 LED streetlight retrofits and 2MW of solar production throughout the community. As a result of enhanced energy improvements across public facilities as diverse as the Permit Center to the Industrial Wastewater Treatment Facility, Steinbeck Public Library, and Municipal Airport, Salinas' energy program has stimulated the local economy by directly creating 50 local jobs in construction and administration associated with the project.
Growing a Sustainable Salinas
Through a tiered implementation timeline that delivered energy efficiency upgrades in tandem with solar generation, OpTerra has helped City leaders demonstrate progress to residents by completing multiple construction projects over a short period of time. In addition to LED streetlights and solar, over 14,000 interior and exterior lights at 23 different City sites were retrofitted to LEDs, with new HVAC equipment and energy management systems installed across City buildings as well. The new equipment supports a significant move toward ongoing improvement of Salinas' environmental impact. As a result of the comprehensive upgrades, the City's carbon emissions will be reduced by 7,266 metric tons by 2040 – the equivalent to removing over 1,530 cars off the road.
OpTerra CEO John Mahoney congratulated City leaders for all their success to date, saying "The OpTerra team applauds the City of Salinas for demonstrating how a public agency like a city can leverage the potential of a public-private partnership with a company like OpTerra to lead the way on sustainability, fiscal responsibility, asset management and energy performance. Their early successes are already proving the long-term impact of using energy as a foundation for progress."
Mayor Joe Gunter celebrated the impact of this far-reaching project with attendees at the dedication event as well. "Through our energy program with OpTerra, the City of Salinas is accomplishing critical, long-held goals, most notably saving millions of public dollars that can be reinvested into boosting public safety services and strengthening the local economy." The successes that the City has generated with solar power and energy efficiency translates into revitalized neighborhoods, stronger regional collaboration across agencies and local business, and an improved sustainability profile throughout the entire Salinas Valley.
About Salinas, CA:
For more information about the City of Salinas, visit http://www.ci.salinas.ca.us/.
About OpTerra Energy Services:
OpTerra Energy Services is a national energy company that works with education, local government, commercial, industrial, and institutional organizations to implement efficiency and sustainable energy solutions that save money, enhance safety, improve assets, and protect the environment. As a subsidiary of ENGIE, the number one energy efficiency services provider in the world, OpTerra Energy Services provides a unique and extensive set of energy and sustainability management services to thousands of customers across the U.S. The company has provided more than $2 billion in energy savings for its customers over the past 40 years. For more information, please visit www.opterraenergy.com or contact Lani Wild, Communications Manager, at 415-735-9080.
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SOURCE OpTerra Energy Services