Cities in North County San Diego are catching the solar buzz.
Carlsbad recently finished a $1 million dollar project at Alga Norte Park, and have another solar installation in the works set for the city’s Safety Training Center. This installation is estimated to pay itself back in energy savings in 10 to 11 years, which to city officials, is worth it.
The ultimate goal of these city solar installations is to save taxpayers money in the long run. A solar farm installed in 2013 at the San Luis Rey Wastewater Reclamation Plant in Oceanside is already saving the treatment plant $80,000 a year in tax dollars. Other cities are opening their eyes to these savings, and are following suit.
Declining Solar Costs
Part of this sudden movement of cities toward solar has been because of the rapidly declining costs. Solar panels have gotten much cheaper due to China entering the solar panel market, and have become more efficient. Solar installations have also gotten cheaper and faster as company’s get more experience and as training becomes more accessible to workers. Combine the low price with the government financing and rebates available, and solar has become more affordable than ever.
Other solar projects installed in North County early on are providing examples of just how efficient solar can be here in San Diego. The Vista Irrigation District, which provides water to residents of Vista, Escondio, and Oceanside, had solar installed back in 2010. Thus far the system has been performing better than expected, providing 70 percent of the plant’s energy needs, even though it was only expected to provide 62 percent.
Not Just the City
Businesses, churches, and non-profits are taking advantage of solar savings as well. Stellar Solar recently announced several new commercial solar projects for businesses and churches, including: Advanced Machining Solutions in Chula Vista, Scrooscoop Fastener in Carlsbad, The Leichtag Foundation in Encinitas, Grace Lutheran Church in Escondido, and Northminster Presbyterian Church in San Diego. Micheal Powers, co-founder of Stellar Solar had this to say about the recent surge in governmental and commercial solar business: “Business owners, nonprofits and churches are feeling the pinch of electric rate hikes as much or more than homeowners and many have found that going solar can have an immediate impact on their bottom line. The PACE program or “Property Assessed Clean Energy” solar loan is being offered in most areas of San Diego County and is a game changer for these organizations.”
So the proof is there: solar will save money. Not only have consumers realized this, but now city governments and businesses have done the math and realized that they should make the switch. The fact is that solar is booming here in San Diego, not only on people’s homes, but on city structures as well.