FAIRFIELD — The cities of Fairfield and Vacaville announced Tuesday the completion of a 1.1-megawatt solar power system designed, procured and constructed by SolarWorld.
The array powers the North Bay Regional Water Treatment Plant, a facility the cities co-own. It uses single-axis-tracker technology to rotate the panels to follow the sun’s path, capturing more energy and requiring a smaller footprint, compared with other systems.
More than 4,000 of SolarWorld’s solar panels are at work. The array is expected to generate about 2 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy a year that will result in immediate savings to Fairfield and Vacaville by limiting utility demand at peak usage times.
Under the power purchase agreement, Fairfield and Vacaville will purchase energy at a lower rate than they pay to buy power from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. Over the 20-year life of the agreement, the cities are expected to save an estimated $2 million.
Fairfield Councilwoman on Tuesday Pam Bertani said the solar energy system puts the two cities in the right position.
“It’s the path to the future,” she said, noting that a switch to renewable energy is inevitable. “It’s like the Internet was 15 to 20 years ago.”
Councilman John Mraz supports the renewable energy effort as well.
“Anything that’s solar makes sense,” he said Tuesday. “Everybody should switch to some kind of solar.”
Officials from both cities spoke of the project’s significance.
“Fairfield’s goal is to utilize solar power to secure a clean alternative energy supply that will reduce the city’s overall energy costs and help keep operating costs down,” said Felix Riesenberg, Fairfield’s assistant director of public works, in a press release. “This is yet another example of our water utility being innovative to reduce operational costs and minimize future rate increases.”
“Vacaville has a long history of embracing solar and alternative energy projects as a way to save money and protect the environment, and this one fits nicely with that approach,” said Steve Sawyer, Vacaville’s interim assistant director of utilities, in the release.
Ryan McCarthy contributed to this report. Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.