Brea Solar Powerby Andy Soos
Environmental News Network, July 21, 2011
Chevron Energy Solutions and the City of Brea today unveiled Orange County's largest municipal solar installation. The effort is part of a comprehensive energy efficiency and solar project expected to generate an estimated $13 million in net savings over the 25-year project, plus significant environmental benefits. The savings have been immediate and the City has already seen results exceeding expectations. One early example is a 65% reduction in electricity costs at the Brea Community Center for the month of June. At the Civic & Cultural Center the reduction was 35%. By using the sun to generate its own power, the city has projected to reduce its electrical utility costs by an average 40 percent and its carbon emissions by 86,000 metric tons; comparable to removing 16,000 cars from the road. During construction, the project also provided more than 25 local jobs and 125 indirect jobs with an estimated $3 million boost to the local economy.
Solar panels at Brea Community Center, Brea Civic and Cultural Center and Reservoir City Pump Yard will generate a total of 1.8 megawatts of power. Chevron designed and installed the solar systems and will operate, maintain and guarantee the systems' performance for the city. Solar power at the reservoir in the city maintenance yard is expected to mitigate future pumping costs. Chevron also implemented a citywide street lighting upgrade, interior and exterior lighting retrofits, and improvements to heating, ventilating, air conditioning and energy management controls to further improve the city's energy efficiency.
Though the ribbon-cutting unveiling the largest municipal solar energy efficiency project in Orange County is this morning, the city of Brea is already reaping savings that have exceeded expectations.
For the month of June, there was a 65% reduction in electricity costs at the Brea Community Center and a 35% drop at the Brea Civic & Cultural Center, according to the city.
"The City of Brea — one of the smallest cities in the county — is now the largest producer of solar energy in Orange County," said Jim Davis, president of Chevron Energy Solutions. "Through this project, Brea has become a leader in energy efficiency in the county. It is a testament to the city's ability to put words into action by using clean, renewable power to save energy and costs."
Brea is not the only place in California with new solar power. The Antelope Valley Community College, in central California, has inaugurated a new solar installation as part of an extensive energy efficiency audit and upgrade, completed by Chevron Energy Solutions.
"At a time of tightly managed budgets, this program is certainly reason to celebrate," said college president Jackie L. Fisher. The project in total is expected to save the district $25 million over its lifetime and offset its annual electrical usage by more the 50 percent. The financial savings take into account incentives as part of the California Solar Initiative.
Chevron Energy Solutions, additional to the solar installation, included car charging systems, a new central cooling plant, and data center and lighting and irrigation control upgrades, which are also projected to bring greater energy savings to the college.
City of Brea's solar production data and other project data will be available to the community on an informational display at Brea Community Center and on the city's website at www.cityofbrea.net.
Chevron completes 1.1 MW project at Californian College District by Jonathan Gifford, PV Magazine, 5/20/11
Chevron and City of Brea begin construction on 1.8 MW solar project by Becky Stuart, PV Magazine, 5/29/11
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