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Energy Saving Projects

Renewable Energy: Photovoltaics

Clean Energy Solar Panels Save Taxpayer Dollars

Sixteen municipal facilities fitted with photovoltaics will help the City reach its goal to pursue energy independence, and become a model city in energy conservation with the use of renewable energy.

City Policy Encourages Renewable Technologies, such as Solar!

All newly constructed facilities and major renovation projects regardless of square footage are encouraged to incorporate self-generation using renewable technologies to reduce environmental impacts associated with fossil fuel energy use. Newly constructed City facilities shall generate a minimum of 10%, with a goal of 20% from renewable technologies including photovoltaic, wind and fuel cells. See the 2003 Sustainable Building Policy 900-14 for more information.

City facilities Produce 2.3 Megawatts of Electricity Annually

Solar technology, which converts sunlight into electricity, is environmentally friendly because it requires no fuel and produces no emissions. Photovoltaics have the potential to play a major role in climate change mitigation and pollution reduction.

City taxpayers will save about $1 million each year in energy costs with the City's two large solar systems; one at Otay and the other at the Alvarado water treatment plant.

16. Scripps Ranch Community Recreation Center
  • The region’s first energy system using solar panels and batteries to power a city building is independent of the electrical grid and can act as a “stand alone” power source during an emergency.Read the fact sheet.
  • 30 kilowatt (AC) system
  • 45,000 kilowatt-hours annually
  • 100 kilowatt-hour battery storage system
  • April 2012
15. Otay Water Treatment Plant
Photo of Otay Mesa Water Treatment Plant
View Larger Image of Otay Mesa Water Treatment Plant
(PDF)
Photo Courtesy of Sun Edison
  • 804 kilowatt (AC) system
  • 1.5 million kilowatt-hours annually
  • April 2010
14. Ocean Air Recreation Center

4770 Fairport Way, San Diego, CA 92130

  • 30 kilowatt (AC) system
  • 45,000 kilowatt-hours annually
  • LEED Certified
  • December 2009
13. Fire Station 47
Photo of Fire Station 47
View Larger Image of Fire Station 47
(PDF)
Photo Courtesy of STK Architecture, Inc.

6041 Edgewood Bend Court, San Diego, CA 92130

  • 8 kilowatt (AC) system
  • 12,000 kilowatt-hours annually
  • LEED Certified
  • February 2008
12. Nobel Athletic Park and Recreation Center

8810 Judicial Drive, San Diego, CA 92122

  • 20 kilowatt (AC) system
  • 30,000 kilowatt-hours annually
  • LEED Certified
  • September 2007
11. Northwestern Division Police Substation
Photo Conceptualization of Northwester Police Substation
View Larger Image of Northwestern Division Police Substation
(PDF)
Photo Courtesy of Safdie Rabines Architects

12592 El Camino Real, Carmel Valley, San Diego, CA 92130

  • 20 kilowatt (AC) rooftop system
  • 30,000 kilowatt-hours annually
  • LEED Certified
  • Completed March 2007
10. Alvarado Water Treatment Plant
Aerial Photo of Alvarado Water Treatment Plant Photovoltaics
View Larger Image of Alvarado Water Treatment Plant
(PDF)
Photo Courtesy of Sun Edison

5530 Kiowa Drive, La Mesa, CA 92120

  • 1.1 megawatt system atop three water reservoirs (two meters: 495 and 450 kWh)
  • 1.4 million kilowatt-hours annually (two meters: 742,500 and 675,000 kWh)
  • completed February 2007
9. North Clairemont Branch Library

4616 Clairemont Drive, San Diego, CA 92117

  • 16 kilowatt (AC) rooftop system
  • 22,500 kilowatt-hours annually
  • completed May 2006
8. Oak Park Branch Library

2802 54th St, San Diego, CA 92105

  • 20 kilowatt (AC) rooftop system
  • 30,000 kilowatt-hours annually
  • completed May 2006
7. Canyonside Recreation Center

12330 Black Mountain Road, San Diego, CA 92129

  • 29 kilowatt (AC) rooftop system
  • 45,000 kilowatt-hours annually
  • completed May 2006
6. George L. Stevens Senior Center
Photo of George L. Stevens Senior Center
View Larger Image of George L. Stevens Senior Center
(PDF)
Photo Courtesy of SDG&E Sustainable Communities

570 S. 65th St., San Diego, CA, 92114

  • 7 kilowatt (AC) rooftop array
  • 10,950 kilowatt-hours annually
  • completed March 2006
  • LEED Certified
  • a private foundation pays utilities for this building
5. San Ysidro Fire Station 29

179 W. San Ysidro Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92173

  • 7 kilowatt (AC) rooftop system
  • 10,500 kilowatt-hours annually
  • LEED Certified
  • completed July 2005
4. Police Headquarters

1401 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101

  • 30 kilowatts (AC) rooftop system
  • 45,000 kilowatt-hours annually
  • completed June 2004
3. Metropolitan Operation Center III

9191 Kearny Villa Court, San Diego, CA 92123

  • 30 kilowatt (AC) rooftop system
  • 45,000 kilowatt-hours annually
  • completed 2003
2. Environmental Services Department's Ridgehaven "Green Building" Demonstration Project

9601 Ridgehaven Court, San Diego, CA 92123

  • 54 kilowatts (AC) rooftop and carport system
  • 82,500 kilowatt-hours annually
  • completed May 2003
1. Environmental Service Department's Operations Station

8353 Miramar Place, San Diego, CA 92121

  • 62 kilowatt (AC) "net zero" carport array
  • 93,000 kilowatt-hours annually
  • completed October 2003

City Facilities to Receive Photovoltaics:

  • Bayview Reservior
  • Miramar Water Treatment Plant
  • Metropolitan Operations Complex (MOC)

How Grid-connected PV Systems Work

Illustration of grid-connected photovoltaic system

Grid-connected photovoltaic systems are the most common type as they make use of the existing electricity grid. The electricity produced during the daytime is either used, or sent back into the electricity grid and used by others, an arrangement called 'net metering.' At night, or on dark days when the panels do not produce sufficient power, electricity is bought in from the electrical grid.

Graphic courtesy San Diego Regional Energy Office

Power Purchase Agreements

The Otay and Alvarado water treatment plant's solar systems were built with power purchase agreements with SunEdison. Under the agreements, the company installed the arrays at no cost to the City. SunEdison owns and maintains the systems and will sell non polluting, solar-generated electricity to the City's Public Utilities section.