Huntington Beach is leading the nation in many green areas, including clean energy. In just a few weeks, the city government’s largest buildings, City Hall and Central Library, will have full solar installations in the parking lot.
This project is the result of several years of energy savings for the city, including a review of the energy costs for the city government, broken down below:
HB City Government Electricity 2008-09
- Street Lights – $2.0 million
- City Hall – $564K
- Water Pumping – $519K
- Central Library – $398K
- Traffic Lights – $90k
- Other – $836K
- Total – $4.5 million
** Source: HB Energy Action Plan (pdf)
As you can see the street lights in the city are, by far, the most expensive. After that comes City Hall and Central Library, which combined cost the city nearly 1$ million/year.
In response the city used Obama’s stimulus money to fund a solar feasibility project. The results showed a positive return for the city and they put out a contract:
“SunEdison was selected as the winning bidder for the solar project…(and the city) entered into a 20-year, 2.3 Megawatt Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) contract, with SunEdison providing, owning, and operating the equipment. The city purchases the solar power at a flat rate from SunEdison.”
“According to the terms of this agreement the city is not liable for any capital costs or maintenance. Additionally, the city benefits from shaded parking.”
If you live in the area, you can drive over and see the solar panel structures up now. They do provide great shade which helps in those hot parking lots. I have yet to hear citizen complaints on it, with everyone I talk to being for them.
Which is good news for the city as it continues to pursue it’s energy goals. Perhaps a lot of residents will show up to the 4th annual Green Expo, on Saturday September 17, where they can learn more about SunEdison, home solar panels, and 70 other green projects.
Full community participation will certainly be needed if the city hopes to meet the mayor’s call:
“In 2009, the Mayor proclaimed a solar goal of 8.5 megawatts of installed capacity across the commercial, residential, and municipal sectors, to be achieved in less than 5 years.”
I applaud this considering that we have a power plant within city limits, the AES natural gas plant on PCH and Newland.
The city is doing it’s part through many other projects, including an energy project manager for the city, who has reformed the city’s utility bills and initiated an energy monitoring system, both of which have saved 100s of thousands of taxpayer dollars and lowered overall energy use.
Some other projects:
- Solar powered restrooms – PCH/9th street & Seapoint
- Solar parking meters.
- Solar monument signs at the entrances to the city
- Energy efficiency funding in most Capital Improvement Programs
All together the savings are adding up to meet the city’s goals of a 20% reduction (according to 2005 levels). As of April 2011, they are at 8.6% and by the time the solar panels are up and all the other in-progress projects are completed, they expect to reduce by 25.6%.
Way to go HB!