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Santa Clara County Celebrates Completion of New Solar Installation Project

Project Expected to Save County Millions of Dollars in the Long Run

Speakers at County 5.6-megawatt Solar Photovoltaic Project News Conference May 1

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – Today, elected officials, staff and solar engineering and construction companies gathered together to celebrate the completion of the County’s 5.6-megawatt Solar Photovoltaic Project which includes the installation of photovoltaic systems at eight County sites. Four of the installations were a part of the Silicon Valley Collaborative Renewable Energy Procurement Project.

The installation of photovoltaic power generating systems helps to reduce greenhouse gases generated by County operations and enables the County to meet its Climate Action goals. The County’s Solar Photovoltaic System Projects will reduce CO2 emission by over 4,000 metric tons each year. This equals to over 800 cars being removed from the road, or over 9,500 barrels of oil avoided.
 
“The Solar Photovoltaic Project is an important initiative that the Board authorized to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Supervisor Dave Cortese, the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “The scale of this project demonstrates the County’s commitment to environmental stewardship and clearly illustrates Santa Clara County’s leadership in utilizing renewable energy.”
 
Over the years, the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors has launched a number of initiatives aimed at protecting the environment. These initiatives include an ordinance to ban single-use plastic bags at supermarkets in the unincorporated county, an e-Stewards Recycling Ordinance which regulates e-waste collection in the unincorporated area and encourages proper management of electronic waste, and establishing an Office of Sustainability to support achievement of the County’s energy conservation goals.

The photovoltaic systems were installed on parking lots and building rooftops, and are expected to generate an estimated 8,644 MWhs of clean power each year. The clean power generated by these systems represents 8.3 percent of the total annual power consumed by County government facilities. The saving in energy use equals to 465,195 gallons of gasoline, or 9,651 barrels of oil, which is enough to power 518 average American homes. Total cost of the project is approximately $19.4 million. It is estimated that the project will save the County $18.8 million in electricity costs over the next 20 years.

“Especially with energy costs on the rise, this is the right time to turn to our renewable resources,” said Supervisor Mike Wasserman, Chair of the Board’s Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee. “Solar power will help to meet our largest challenge – peak load demands on the hottest days.”

The Photovoltaic System Projects for renewable energy generation are located at the following eight County facilities:
 
  • 1555 Berger Drive, San Jose
  • 55 West Younger Avenue, San Jose
  • 1993 McKee Road, San Jose
  • 701 South Abel Street, Milpitas
  • 2310 North First Street, San Jose
  • 2314 North First Street, San Jose
  • 7475 Camino Arroyo, Gilroy
  • 500 Tully Road, San Jose
 
“Joint Venture Silicon Valley applauds the County on the completion of these installations,” said Russell Hancock, President & CEO, Joint Venture Silicon Valley. “A successful shared effort of this size requires the kind of leadership exemplified by the County.”

“With these solar projects, Santa Clara County is providing environmental and economic benefits to its citizens, while creating local jobs,” said Mike Hall, CEO of Borrego Solar. “The power purchase agreement we entered into with Santa Clara County is a good example of the public-private partnerships that can help drive solar projects forward. We are proud to have been part of this ambitious initiative, and applaud Santa Clara County for its forward-thinking.”

The County’s Solar Photovoltaic System Installation Project was completed by three local solar engineering and construction companies: Borrego Solar Systems, Inc., Stronghold Engineering, Inc., and Ecoplexes, Inc. The projects created over 80 local jobs.  

Solar Photovoltaic Project News Conference May 1, Officials participate in ceremony to switch on the solar panels
Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Lingxia Meng, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119

Posted: May 1, 2012