MURRIETA, CA –With a clever bit of planning, the Clearlake Oaks County Water District turned its solar power system from HelioPower into a local stimulus program of sorts.
HelioPower is installing a 220 kW solar power system at one of the Water District’s treatment plants. Instead of making a hefty upfront payment for the system, the District signed up for HelioPower’s Power Purchase Agreement (or “PPA”). Under the PPA, HelioPower funds the installation and operation, and in exchange the Water District simply agrees to buy the solar energy it produces at a discount to its current electric utility rates. HelioPower is projecting the Water District will save nearly $900,000 dollars on its energy bill over the 20 year project, with no initial capital outlay. Yet, that was just the first step in the Water District’s plan to add value to its rate payers and County.
When it came time to build the solar system, HelioPower hired Lake County residents as part of the installation crew. This secondary benefit of the solar project provides an invaluable benefit to both the Water District and Lake County. Not only is the Water District projected to reap substantial savings on its own electric bill, but by going solar, the Clearlake Oaks County Water District created new Holiday-season jobs for Lake County residents.
To make the local hiring happen, HelioPower turned to Workforce Lake. Dustin Miracle, from HelioPower, explains that “Workforce Lake was a tremendous help. They were integral in creating a venue to engage the local Lake County workforce.” Workforce Lake is a private non-profit group dedicated to helping Lake County residents find jobs. The group helps people create resumes, prepare for interviews, and find job opportunities like this one.
Workforce Lake made hiring local talent astoundingly easy for HelioPower. Prior to the start of construction on the Water District’s solar system, Workforce Lake hosted a job fair for HelioPower. In the weeks leading up to the job fair, Workforce Lake staff contacted everyone in town with construction experience. On the day of the job fair, the group provided support staff and everything else needed to ensure the job fair was a success. “The job fair had a great turnout. I was able to show up and roll right into interviewing people,” said Miracle.
The Clearlake Oaks County Water District’s solar PV system created a local stimulus that was a nice boost for some in Lake County. Miracle reported that, “Several of the applicants at the job fair mentioned they had been out of work for more than a year.” Thanks to the Water District, HelioPower was able to hire seven residents to join the HelioPower installation crew. Each received training on solar system design and installation, and in return each made valuable contributions to the HelioPower team. Best of all, each Lake County resident hired was able to earn additional income just before Christmas.
Founded in 2001, HelioPower is the premier solar installation firm for commercial, industrial, agricultural and public sector energy systems. HelioPower has installed over 4,000 systems and own and operate 160 solar systems. With over a decade of experience, HelioPower consistently delivers quality, custom engineered, cost-effective energy solutions to its clients. Learn more at http://heliopower.com