County's New Solar Energy System Unveiled

More energy-friendly buildings on tap for 2011

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    NEWSLETTERS

    County of San Diego

    The County of San Diego and San Diego Gas & Electric unveiled a new solar energy structure Wednesday they say will produce enough energy to power 107 homes a year.

    The County Operations Center Parking Structure, located on 5550 Overland Avenue, features 24 panels atop a seven-story complex, providing the duel benefits of generating 627,000 kilowatts of power and ample parking shade, said April Heinze, County of San Diego of General Services director.

    The system also reduces greenhouse 376 tons per year, the environmental equivalent to not driving nearly a million miles a year or planting over 11,000 trees, Heinze said.

    Nine county departments, such as Public Works, Park and Recreation, and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, will use the site.

    "SDG&E owns and operates the system and sends the electricity produced directly into the grid," Heinze said in a press conference. "That means it’s available as an energy resource for the community."

    The county will host the system for 10 years and receive over $60,000 in lease payments.

    Ron Roberts, county Supervisor, called the building "a good thing."

    "It’s more than just a parking garage, and you can see it," Roberts said. "... It’s a glimpse of the future ... This is what parking garages everywhere ought to look like and, in fact, will look like."

    The parking complex is one of many green infrastructural initiatives for the new year.

    The County will open a 45-kilowatt solar energy system this spring, a 30-killowatt system in the summer, and its largest project to date in September at the East Mesa Detention Facility, Roberts said.

    "We’ll use less energy, and we’ll have a lot cleaner air," Roberts said, "which is something we want for not only ourselves, but the youngsters that are growing up in San Diego."