The City of Sacramento, the capital of California in the state that leads the nation in solar power, has made a significant commitment to commercial solar energy—and the best part is the city didn't have to tap into the city's budget to go green. Instead they partnered with SolarCity, who financed, engineered, installed and will operate the new solar power projects through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and the City will only pay for the power produced at a rate that is expected to be lower than electricity from the grid.
Not only does the City benefit from immediate and long-term energy savings and the associated carbon dioxide emissions, but the solar projects also helped create local construction jobs. In addition to the full-time employees based in SolarCity's Sacramento operations center, SolarCity hired nearly 250 local construction workers on a project basis to complete the Sacramento Systems.
The 3.4 MW project includes six City locations: City Hall, Police Department, Meadowview Service Center, South Corporation Yard, and the Fairbairn and Sacramento Water Treatment Plants. The systems are expected to produce about 4.2 million kWh the first year, which is roughly equivalent to the electricity used to power 400 homes.
Council member Helps Install the Last Solar Panel
Representatives of the City of Sacramento, SolarCity, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and media gathered to celebrate the completion of the first solar panel installation at the South Corporation Yard. Councilmember Jay Schenirer carried the last solar panel to the SolarCity crew member who bolted down the last panel to the applause of the crowd. Larry Carr, SMUD Board Member commented, "SMUD is happy to be a partner in this project by providing the necessary incentives to make this project financially feasible for the City. This project also helps SMUD reach its renewable energy goals."
Phase II Completed
After the first four projects began in 2011, Sacramento City Council voted to increase the SolarCity project and approved a second phase which added another 1.5 MW at the Fairbairn and Sacramento Water Treatment Plants.