The City of Yuba City, CA, announced at its Council meeting on Tuesday that it has completed the implementation of a successful energy efficiency and solar power program with OpTerra Energy Services. The program is aligned with the City’s broader vision for improving community facilities and reducing financial strain on the General Fund. The City is set to save over $6 million, over a 30 year term, in energy and utility costs as a result of upgrades across 16 City structures, including the Gauche Aquatic Park, Police Station, and Water Treatment Plant.
Impactful Energy Improvements
Starting in late 2013, City leadership collaborated with the OpTerra team to identify and develop long-term energy savings opportunities that would enhance building performance and reduce energy costs. The City Council authorized OpTerra to begin construction inNovember 2014. A significant aspect of the program was the delivery of comprehensive improvements across City facilities — from technology as varied as ground-mounted solar photovoltaic systems, new energy management systems, and new interior and exterior LED lighting fixtures. The project cost will be repaid through a combination of energy savings, operational savings, and incentives. OpTerra has guaranteed the energy savings of the project for the finance term of 16 years.
At Tuesday night’s Council meeting, the OpTerra project team presented project close-out details on the work done throughout the year long project. Some highlights of the project include new solar PV panel arrays at the Gauche Aquatic Park and the City’s Water Treatment Plant that provide a total of 662 kW of energy, as well as solar thermal panels that will heat the pool water at Gauche Aquatic Park and offset 30% of heating gas consumption. All the projects implemented will provide the City a hedge against future utility rate increases.
The project also retrofits much of the City’s aging mechanical and electrical infrastructure, including lighting fixtures, heating and air conditioning systems at City Hall, Fire Stations, and Police Station. By replacing indoor fluorescent and incandescent fixtures with LED lighting, the City reduces maintenance cost with the extended life of LEDs. Outdoor lighting has also been greatly improved by replacing existing high-intensity discharge building parking lot and spot lighting with LED fixtures and motion sensors at City facilities and parks. The outdoor lighting improvements save on energy and maintenance costs while enhancing safety in the City’s outdoor spaces with brighter, more evenly-distributed light.
Recognizing the success of the project being a result of great teamwork between OpTerra and the City, Yuba City Construction Project Manager, Claire Shawver, expressed that, “The OpTerra staff has been a pleasure to work with. Their team has been professional, responsive, knowledgeable and accommodating.”
As the local OpTerra team highlighted during the Council meeting, the Yuba City project provides necessary infrastructure upgrades that benefit the entire City. Through a combination of smart design and efficient project planning, OpTerra helped City leaders demonstrate progress to residents by completing multiple construction projects at the same time, while also reducing the need for ongoing maintenance time spent repairing old systems. The new equipment eases maintenance costs and preserves the integrity of the systems as the City moves toward an ongoing improvement of their environmental impact. As a result of the comprehensive upgrades, the City’s annual carbon emissions have been reduced by 1,517 tons – the equivalent to removing 290 cars from the road every year.
OpTerra CEO John Mahoney commended Yuba City for its leadership in addressing multiple energy upgrade opportunities at the same time, saying, “OpTerra Energy Services congratulates the City for its proactive approach to improving its facilities and its efficient use of resources. By deploying additional solar power generation systems and adopting energy efficient technology, the City will not only yield cost savings but become more self-sufficient over the long-term.”
As reiterated by Mayor John Buckland, “Along with the City Council and staff, I am excited to see Yuba City’s energy program continue. The OpTerra team worked hard to build upon past City improvements, collaborated with our team across 16 major City sites, and the result of our partnership will have a lasting positive financial impact on the City well into the future.” With increased efficiency and life expectancy of City assets, Yuba City is equipped to continue serving residents effectively for years to come.