A northern California jail is now using the power of the sun to save millions in energy costs. On July 27th, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors “flipped the switch” on a new Yolo County Justice Campus solar photovoltaic system. The 1-megawatt solar power system wascompleted six weeks ahead of schedule.
The facility, located in Woodland, uses San Jose-based SunPower Corp. (Nasdaq:SPWRA, SPWRB) solar panels, touted as the “most effective solar panels on the market.” Its SunPower Tracker system not only follows the sun as it moves, increasing suncapture by up to 25 percent compared to traditional, fixed-tilt solararrays, but also requires less land use requirements as well.
The system is expected to avoid more than 2 million pounds of carbondioxide emissions annually, according to conversion formulas from theU.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The new system, owned by Yolo County, is expected to save more than$8 million in energy costs over the next 25 years, which will directlybenefit both businesses and residents according to a recent press release.
The project was funded by both “clean renewable energy bonds andqualified energy conservation bonds available through the AmericanRecovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009” and also a 15-year-loan from theCalifornia Energy Commission. The subsidized bonds were financed by theBank of America (NYSE:BAC). Yolo County had no out-of-pocket expenses for the project.
With a population of over 200,000, Yolo County utilizes othersustainable initiatives as well. The county reduced its greenhouse gasemissions by nearly 40 percent from 2006 to 2009. Some of the county’sinitiatives include using LED lighting in parking lots, installingenergy-efficient doors and insulation, replacing windows, and hasreducing its county automobile fleet. Solar cells have also been addedto the Herbert Bauer Health and Alcohol, Drug & Mental Healthbuilding as well.
For more information on solar energy, visit eBoom’s Solar Energy Learning page.