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January 20, 2010 > City begins solar power analysis

City begins solar power analysis

By Dustin Findley

Public Works Director and City Engineer Greg Armendariz presented a preliminary solar analysis of various city facilities to Council on January 5.

Last October, Council received a City of Milpitas Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory Report from staff. The proposed energy-efficiency action program includes the California First program.

Staff has identified 16 City facilities as potential candidates for solar panel installation:
City Hall, Community Center, new Senior Center, Sports Center, all four fire stations, Police and Public Works building, Sal Cracolice building, water and sewage facilities, library and parking garage.

The first step is to analyze all these facilities for net power needs (after efficiency losses and electrical and gas savings) and look at potential sources including installation of solar panels and the minimum and maximum recommended installation.

The next step is to examine the electrical system and modify and improve it to accommodate the solar panels. The load-bearing capacity of each facility's roof will be assessed for both weight and wind-loading. Matching output and consumption will enable installation of an appropriately-sized system and load.

After both analyses are complete, the City would develop cost estimates for both solar-panel installation and any required retrofits, assess feasibility and evaluate financing options for utility facilities.

Consultant CH2M Hill, Inc. will undertake the assessment and evaluation in for the 16 City of Milpitas facilities on the same terms and conditions as it has for Santa Clara County. The one-year contract, based on time and materials, will be for no more than $75,000 which is considered reasonable for the services to be provided.

Budget appropriations of $55,000 from RDA, $10,000 from the water fund and $10,000 from the sewer fund are required.

Once the City establishes which of the 16 sites is feasible, it will then consider how to finance the improvements.

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