Eightyears after its first solar energy project came online, the City ofRiverside has surpassed the milestone of producing more than 1 megawatt(MW) of local solar energy. One megawatt is enough energy to power 750homes in Southern California.
“It is exciting to see that we’vereached this goal so quickly,” said Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge. “Weare well on our way to becoming a model solar city for SouthernCalifornia and the nation.”ugh energy to power 750 homes in SouthernCalifornia.
The milestone was reached just as the Casa BlancaLibrary reopens after extensive interior remodeling. A new 54.88kilowatt (kW) solar energy system is affixed to the top of the parkingstructure. The Casa Blanca Library rededication ceremony is at 11 a.m.,Saturday.
“We are very proud of this achievement,” saidRiverside Public Utilities General Manager David H. Wright. “And we arethankful for a board and city council that have had the foresight overthe years to fund and build projects, which not only provide clean,renewable energy for our city, but have educated our customers on theimportance of solar energy and how they too can use it.”
Todate, the utility has funded 12 solar energy projects; 11 of which arenow online producing more than 1,121.69 kW. Projects are locatedthroughout the city, including roof-mounted solar systems on low-incomehousing units, a local senior center, a homeless services center, citypool facilities, city hall and at local train stations.
In 2003,Riverside Public Utilities began offering a rebate program, which helpsoffset the costs of installing a residential solar energy system. Theprogram offers incentives of $3 per watt installed, up to $25,000 or 50percent of the project costs (whichever is less).
With theaddition of a commercial solar rebate program in 2008, the utility sawnearly a 42-percent increase in the number of projects applying forfunding. And, since July, has seen a 74-percent increase in projectsthat have been completed.
Surpassing the 1MW local solarmilestone is just part of the larger goal the utility has set —receiving 50 percent of its total power from renewable resources by2013.