Monday, September 22, 2008

Solar saviors?: Panels would spare about $1 million over time

Solar saviors?: Panels would spare about $1 million over time
By Danny Bernardini
Article Launched: 09/20/2008

Solano County will dedicate a 746-kilowatt solar panel near Claybank Jail in Fairfield on Tuesday, a move that is expected to save around $1 million over the next 20 years.

The Solano County Board of Supervisors and Honeywell will formally dedicate the structure on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. in the bus parking lot near the Claybank Adult Detention Facility at 2470 Claybank Road in Fairfield.

Not only will the solar array generate almost 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year - enough to power more than 100 homes - it will provide enough energy to provide nearly 60 percent of the electricity required to power the adjacent Claybank Jail.

It will also serve as a parking structure for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District buses. Jason Campbell, facilities operation manager, said the district leases the land from the county, so it didn't take much discussion to make the deal happen.

Campbell said the project has only cost the county between $15,000 and $20,000 in contracting costs because of a power purchase agreement with Honeywell.

The company pays for the construction, and in return gets the tax credits and incentives associated with solar projects.

Steve Pierce, public information officer for Solano County, said he believes that the newest solar project will be the largest producer of solar energy in the county.

Collectively, the county's three solar generating facilities produce 1.096 megawatts of electricity, just barely edging out Alza's 1 megawatt solar field.