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Alameda County Wins City Solar Award

Picture of solar panels.

In April 2009, Alameda County received a City Solar Award from the Northern California Solar Energy Association (NorCal Solar) for having more total watts of solar installations than any other county in the Bay Area—18.1 megawatts. The award recognizes cities and counties, including residents, businesses, and municipal governments, for the total amount of solar installations within their borders.

The award, presented at the April 28 Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting, recognized the County’s 3.3 megawatts of solar—the most solar of any local government in the United States—in addition to solar projects by residents, businesses, and cities. A megawatt of solar is enough to power 750 homes.

Picture of solar panels on top of the Juvenile Jusctice Center

“We’re proud to have done our part to make Alameda County number one in total watts of solar,” said Alameda County Board of Supervisors President Alice Lai-Bitker. “Renewable energy is an important part of the County’s commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and creating green jobs in our County.”

The County was a pioneer in large-scale installations at government facilities, with an active solar program dating back to the early 1990s. “We saw an opportunity to save taxpayer dollars, protect the environment, create jobs, and take steps towards energy independence,” said Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson. The County’s solar installations save taxpayers an estimated $500,000 per year in energy costs.

“We appreciate the acknowledgement that Alameda County has a strong sustainability commitment and we hope to serve as a model for other local governments,” said Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty. The County’s 3.3 megawatts of solar include a 1.18 megawatt installation at Santa Rita Jail and an 880 kilowatt system at the Juvenile Justice Center, both 24/7 facilities with large energy demands. The County also has a one megawatt fuel cell cogeneration plant plus energy efficiency projects that save taxpayers an estimated additional $6 million per year.

The City Solar Award was based on a Bay Area Solar Installations report that calculated total solar installations in 165 communities in ten Bay Area counties as of December 31, 2007. NorCal Solar is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to accelerate the use of solar energy technology through the exchange of information. The City Solar awards were created to raise public awareness about the benefits of solar technology and develop a spirit of friendly competition between municipalities. For more information about Alameda County government’s energy program, visit: http://www.acgov.org/sustain/what/energy/.

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