- December 2, 2014
We Built This City.
Cities can lead by example by promoting renewable energy and securing the city’s path to a sustainable future by installing solar panels on civic structures and buildings. By linking the panels directly to the grid, a city can take the bold step to reduce municipal energy consumption and provide leadership on renewal energy.
Building upon the successful emerging green policies already adopted by the state, installing solar panels on civic buildings will send the signal to the world that your city is progressive, innovative, and concerned about long-term sustainability by:
- Reducing energy costs
- Providing new revenues to the city
- Reducing impact on the environment
- Attracting young talent interested in innovation and sustainability
Solar Provides Huge Savings for the City
Sunworks recently installed a 154-kilowatt solar array at Raley Field for the Sacramento River Cats, an MLB AAA league team. The plan encompassed the installation of solar panels for the top of both clubhouses, on the roof of the stadium and on a building behind left center field.
The 154kW installation includes 472 SunPower modules and five SMA inverters and will be responsible for a projected output of over 247,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) during the first year.
The partnership with Sunworks also includes the One Megawatt Initiative, an exciting program designed to help homes and other business in the Sacramento region move toward solar energy. Those that join through the initiative will be recognized throughout the 2016 and 2017 baseball seasons at Raley Field before each River Cats game. Fans who install solar through the initiative will also receive a $1,000 rebate on their solar installation. The initiative will track the total wattage of all new residential or business solar projects started through Sunworks and the River Cats with the goal of reaching one megawatt in reductions.
“This is something we’ve been looking into for a long while now. We felt it was important to lead the path of sustainability in the Sacramento region and Minor League Baseball as a whole.”
Minor League Baseball
Examples of Great Civic Solar Projects Across the US
The Memphis Civic Solar Project will install 50 kilowatts of solar energy on top of thirty municipal buildings in Memphis, the equivalent of about 200 solar panels per building. This project is part of a larger mission to reduce energy costs, provide new revenues to the city, and reduce its carbon foot print on the environment. Specifically, this project will bring new revenue to the city without any capital outlay and offset over 2,000,000 lbs carbon dioxide emissions each year.
While Memphis isn’t the first city to take advantage of solar energy, the project is unique for several reasons. Because of their financial feasibility, many cities across the country use brownfields as locations for solar energy panels, sites defined by the EPA as previously developed urban areas whose reuse may be complicated by pollutants or contaminants.
San Antonio, TX
San Antonio is a city that has municipal utility companies that encourage solar PV systems; partnerships with local utilities, the study notes, are one of the most effective strategies for encouraging the growth of solar energy systems. San Antonio’s municipal utility has set a goal of generating 20 percent of its electricity demand from renewable energy sources by 2020. Further, the utility company would like at least 100 megawatts of electricity to come from non-wind renewable sources, a goal which spells big growth for solar companies.
San Antonio is susceptible to drought and solar power can be a lifesaver for city residents. Solar power helps the city avoid millions of gallons of water waste by eliminating the need for hydroelectric power systems. The City Council has adopted a policy that all new city buildings should achieve at least a Silver rating in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program of the U.S. Green Building Council. The Council also has a goal of “net zero” carbon buildings by 2030.
San Francisco, CA
For the past several years, the city of San Francisco has made strident efforts to push forward and transform itself into the greenest city in the United States. Taking this goal one step further, its leaderships announced an incredible plan to transform the city’s Civic Center into a sustainable resource district. San Francisco’s renewed green heart will feature solar panels, wind turbines, and living roofs, reducing the city’s carbon footprint by 2,225 tons – the equivalent of 1,286 San Francisco households.
In its goal to encourage solar use, San Francisco has a Go Solar SF city-wide program that helps residents and businesses install solar on residential, business and nonprofit rooftops across San Francisco, reducing participants’ electricity bills and shrinking the city’s carbon footprint. There is a lot of interest in solar power in San Francisco and the city has some of the best rebates and incentives in the country.