Thought Leadership

San Diego Signs to Enter Agreement to Save on Energy Costs

Profile picture for user Len Hering
Submitted by Len Hering on October 22 2015
Adding more solar installations helps meet climate action plan

CSE commends the City of San Diego’s staff and elected officials for their efforts to make the region cleaner, greener and more efficient. With Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s recent announcement, San Diego plans to enter into a 20-year agreement with SunEdison to put solar energy installations on 25 city sites.

The solar installations will be made at recreation centers, libraries, parking lots and police and fire stations in neighborhoods across the city and save roughly $22 million in energy costs at those facilities over the course of the agreement, cutting energy costs by 45 percent. The city council's Infrastructure Committee voted October 21 to send the agreement to the full city council for a vote.

SunEdison will own, install, operate and maintain the solar photovoltaic systems, which will generate about six megawatts, and in turn, the city will purchase the solar energy at rates lower than present utility costs.

Based on the current rate of escalation for electricity, energy costs for the 25 sites would have been about $48 million over 20 years. The estimated cost for an equivalent amount of electricity under this solar agreement is $26 million – a savings of roughly $22 million.

The city has also identified 40 additional sites that could host solar installations for a possible second phase of this project. The goal of the city's draft Climate Action Plan is to have all electricity used in the city to be from renewable sources by 2035.

We hope this courageous move will show legislators and regulators why it’s important that they continue to create conditions in their states that assure the value proposition of solar through policies supporting sustainable energy, distributed generation, net metering and advanced energy storage.

We see this as a bold and progressive move for the City of San Diego and urgently encourage other municipalities throughout the country to consider implementing similar programs.  We can create a cleaner environment for our future generations to enjoy while still insuring economic growth and vitality are preserved. Well done!

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