PERRIS, Calif., Sept. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The County of Riverside is powering progress through renewable energy, flipping the switch on its first facility to be powered by the sun as part of the largest countywide conversion to solar ever launched in the U.S. Through a collaborative partnership with OpTerra Energy Services, the County celebrated the ongoing implementation of 12MW of solar across eight sites, starting with the energization of the Perris Sheriff Station today.Continue reading
Let the Sun Shine
With almost 300 days of Southern California sunshine a year, Riverside County was eager to take advantage of their prime real estate for renewable power. The 12MW solar program will generate 18.6 million kWh of clean, renewable energy annually. The implementation of solar photovoltaic arrays will power and enhance the energy portfolio of eight critical facilities tied to community services – including two sheriff stations, an animal shelter, and even the County health center.
Riverside County's historic solar program is part of a broader effort to continue fostering a more sustainable region, focused on ongoing fiscal stewardship and community engagement across the County. The program will have far-reaching impacts across County cities from San Jacinto, Jurupa Valley, Palm Desert, Temecula, Beaumont, and Perris. Residents will benefit from the County's ownership of these new assets, with the program expected to generate approximately $200 million in taxpayer savings over the next 30 years.
Accolades for Ownership
During Tuesday's flip the switch celebration, local leaders recognized the County Board of Supervisors' leadership in ensuring the long-term ownership of their new solar system. Requiring no public capital investment, the County's far-reaching solar footprint utilizes energy savings to pay for all site installations happening through the end of 2015. Additionally, the County took advantage of Southern California Edison's Bill Credit Transfer Program to use excess energy generated at solar project sites to reduce expenses at those County-owned facilities that pay the highest utility rates.
By purchasing their new solar infrastructure outright, the County will own the system and enable even greater long term fiscal benefits than those anticipated over the 30-year life of the program.
The solar installations will go beyond fiscal savings and provide significant impact on County goals tied to enhancing economic development and quality of life. Some of the many community-focused benefits being captured as program implementation happens this year include:
- Over 1,000 jobs to be created over the lifetime of the program, with 287 jobs created during construction
- 80% local labor used for the project
- 40% offset of the County's total energy consumption at more than 20 County facilities within Southern California Edison territory
- 385,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide offset over the lifetime of the project
From a comfort level, providing shaded canopies for County residents and employees over existing parking lots across county facilities is a major win for the County as well. Protecting cars from the scorching sun in one of the hottest climates in the country is no small footnote – this benefit was especially pronounced at the Perris Sheriff Station where temperatures inside patrol vehicles can reach over 150 degrees. Shaded canopies keep employees comfortable, while helping prolong the useful life of vehicles by reducing heat related wear and tear.
More Success on the Horizon
As more County facilities' solar installations go online through the end of the year, the County is excited to promote the ongoing positive impact at future community events. The greenhouse gas emissions that will be reduced by this far-reaching project represent the equivalent to removing over 80,000 cars off the road – improving environmental and social outcomes for residents in myriad ways that go further than just fiscal savings.
About the County of Riverside: With rivers, mountain peaks, deserts and fertile valleys, Riverside County offers diversity that few locations can match. More than two million people live in Riverside County and even more come to visit each year, taking advantage of affordable housing, nearby beaches, mountains, hiking and bike trails, the Wine Country near Temecula and resorts that offer oases in the desert. The county is working to diversify beyond the housing industry that has driven the region's economy for years. Transportation corridors – highways, airports and rail lines – support Southern California's shipping connection to Asia, a vital link for California and the rest of the nation.
California's fourth largest county by population is expanding its economy, working to make Riverside County as business-friendly as possible and using health and recreations strategies to make the county a healthier place for residents. The county's commitment to sustainability combines with a rich cultural heritage and frontier history to make Riverside County a great place live, work or visit. Learn more at http://www.countyofriverside.us/ or contact Kimberly Douglas, Assistant Marketing Manager, Riverside County Economic Development Agency: (951) 955-6688, firstname.lastname@example.org.
About OpTerra Energy Services: OpTerra Energy Services is a national energy company that partners with school districts, cities, and counties to implement comprehensive sustainability solutions that save money, generate revenue, improve assets, and protect the environment. We have helped saved our partners over $1 billion in energy savings to date. Learn more at www.opterraenergy.com or contact Lani Wild, Communications Manager: (415) 735-9080, email@example.com.
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SOURCE OpTerra Energy Services