Solar and Energy Efficiency Program ( Solar Thermal Magazine) – In California’s Madera County leaders recently announced they had secured financing for a comprehensive solar and energy efficiency program. By meeting this key milestone, County leaders expect construction will start in the next several weeks, just in time to take advantage of $1.4 million in project incentives offered through the California Solar Initiative.
Solar energy projects will be installed at the County’s jail complex and government center to produce more than 1.6 MW of clean, sustainable energy annually, while HVAC upgrades to the Madera Library’s 40-year old mechanical equipment will help generate additional savings in both electricity and maintenance costs. The anticipated $15 million in energy savings, which are being guaranteed by OpTerra for the program’s first 20 years, are being used to finance the various infrastructure improvements over the 30-year life of the program.
Since being approved by the Board of Supervisors late last year, the solar and energy efficiency program has continued to move forward with the help of OpTerra Energy Services (OpTerra), the largest independent energy efficiency and renewable power solutions provider for the public sector in the United States. OpTerra was selected by the County to design, manage and deliver the various program elements. During the last year, OpTerra has worked collaboratively with County staff to complete the final planning and engineering on the program, and together they have received all necessary approvals so that construction could proceed immediately after financing had been secured.
“By working hand-in-hand with OpTerra over the past several months, we have been able to continuously advance this ambitious program and get it construction-ready as financing was being arranged for the project,” said Eric Fleming, Madera County Administrative Officer.
We completed all of the planning and engineering ahead of time and obtained project financing in time to secure $1.4 million in State solar incentives. We can now start construction immediately and begin generating major cost savings for the County and its taxpayers.
“With this extensive sustainability program, we have helped protect our local taxpayers and helped showcase Madera County as a leader in energy efficiency and renewable technology,” said Supervisor Tom Wheeler, Chair of the Board of Supervisors.
As Madera County continues to grow, it must continue to make these critical investments in its infrastructure that not only prepare our County for a more sustainable future, but do it in a way that ultimately saves our taxpayers real dollars. I am proud of the thoughtful way our Board has continuously looked to move Madera County forward.
“This program succeeded due to the strength of the partnership OpTerra formed with Madera County, which made us determined to keep pushing forward despite the program’s uncertain outcome,” said OpTerra CEO John Mahoney.
Having worked with hundreds of local governments across the United States to develop similar solar and energy efficiency projects, we know from firsthand experience the power of strong relationships with our partners and that together we can overcome challenges to achieve positive results for our clients and their taxpayers.