Riverside County, California showcases much of the beauty the state has to offer. Its beaches, mountains, and deserts help to draw over 2 million tourists every year. Not to mention its Wine Country. The county is now working to offer something new to its visitors and tourists – clean energy.
The county has partnered with OpTerra Energy Services to create 8 projects generating 12 MW of solar. Earlier this week OpTerra brought the first array on-line – at the Perris Sheriff Station.
Riverside County purchased the systems outright, rather choosing a lease. The solar arrays will provide over 40 percent of the county’s energy needs. The savings are projected to reach more than $200 million over the next 30 years.
Other economic benefits that the solar program will bring to the region include the creation of jobs – over 1,000 throughout the lifetime of the systems. This includes nearly 300 jobs during the construction phase alone.
Furthermore, the project required no public capital investment. The money earned through energy savings alone will pay for all systems through the end of the year. Southern California Edison’s (SCE) Bill Credit Transfer Program (BCTP) provides additional savings, allowing the county to use any excess energy generated at the solar sites to offset expenses elsewhere.
Communities across the country are beginning to take advantage of the cost savings that solar offers. Who will be next?
Photo Credit: Kevin Gong/flickr.com