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San Diego Flips Solar Switch at 17 City Facilities

New Solar Installations Expand City’s Existing Renewable Energy Portfolio and Demonstrate Mayor’s Commitment to Delivering on Climate Goals

Wednesday, June 19, 2019 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego – As part of an effort to reach the goal of 100 percent renewable energy use citywide by 2035, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer today announced the City of San Diego has installed new solar panels at 17 city-owned facilities to reduce energy consumption, save millions in taxpayer dollars and protect the environment for the next generation.

“We’re making investments today to create a cleaner San Diego and become one of the greenest cities in the world,” Mayor Faulconer said. “Adding more and more solar makes all the sense in the world as it reduces energy costs at city facilities and helps toward our goal of using 100 percent renewable energy.”

The City estimates the solar installations will result in cost savings of about $12.5 million over the next 20 years. The largest new solar installation is at Balboa Park’s Inspiration Point where more than 2,900 panels have created a parking lot canopy. The canopy produces 1,547,000 kilowatt hours of energy annually – enough to power the equivalent of 131 homes for a year.

Solar panels have been installed at the following facilities:

  • Malcolm X Library Parking Lot
  • Serra Mesa/Kearny Mesa Library Parking Lot
  • Carmel Valley Recreation Center Rooftop & Parking Lot
  • Fire Repair Facility Rooftop
  • Eastern Division Police Station Parking Lot
  • Rancho Bernardo Senior Center Parking Lot
  • Southern Division Police Station Rooftop
  • Point Loma Library Rooftop
  • Mountain View Community Center Rooftop
  • Northern Division Police Station Rooftop & Parking Lot
  • Tierrasanta Community Pool Parking Lot
  • Western Division Police Station Parking Lot
  • Mission Valley Library Parking Lot
  • Central Division Police Station Parking Garage Parking lot
  • Mission Trails Regional Nature & Visitor Center Parking Lot
  • Inspiration Point Parking Lot (Balboa Park)
  • Park de la Cruz Recreation Center Rooftop & Parking Lot

The City has a total of 42 solar power installations at its facilities. Another 10 solar projects are in various stages of planning and design at police stations, recreation centers, libraries and other operational facilities.

“The installation of solar panels at existing parking lots and on rooftops is a smart way to take advantage of the City’s current infrastructure,” said City Councilmember Mark Kersey. “These projects save the City money in the long run, which means more resources for core services like road repair.”

San Diego is a national leader in solar, ranking second nationally in overall solar installations behind Los Angeles, according to Environment California’s 2019 annual rankings.

To encourage even more use of solar, the City’s Development Services Department has focused on easing the permitting process for solar projects. Streamlining measures include:

  • Moving solar permitting program functions to the City Operations Building to centralize review disciplines and increase customer convenience.
  • Reducing turnaround time for permitting of single-family residential roof-mounted solar projects to 3-5 days, compared to the previous 10-day wait period.
  • Increasing the hours for solar appointments and drop-off service.
  • Dedicating additional staff to the solar permitting program.
  • Creating a professional certification program to eliminate the plan review process, allowing staff to issue permits without a plan review.
  • Encouraging electronic submittal and review to eliminate need to make trips to City offices.
  • Allowing minor changes to plans to be approved in the field by an inspector.

Increasing the use of clean, renewable energy sources will help meet the ambitious goals in the City’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for using 100 percent renewable energy citywide and cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2035.

“We’re working hard to expand the use of renewable energy across the city,” said Sustainability Department Director Cody Hooven. “The City continually evaluates its buildings and parking lots for potential new solar projects as we take aggressive action to meet our climate goals.”

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