BUILDINGS - Smarter Facilities Management

12/13/2011

Solar Power: An Option for Correctional Facilities?

 
Solar power may be a very viable option for correctional facilities.

Merced Country contracted with Siemens group to deliver a 1.4 megawatt solar photovoltaic array to power the County’s correctional facilities.  The system is designed to provide approximately 70% of the facilities’ peak electricity consumption.

"We are thrilled to be turning on a new era of sustainability for Merced County citizens. I think all will agree we have made a solid investment that will yield tremendous fiscal and environmental benefits to the county and its citizens for decades to come," says Board of Supervisors Chairman John Pedrozo. "The economics of the system could not be better. We can expect more than $300,000 in equivalent electricity savings every year and a net positive cash flow that over 25 years will reach, according to projections, nearly $9 million."

Two triangular-shaped arrays deploying 6,272 solar panels were installed on 4.5 acres adjacent to the John Latorraca Correctional Facility and the Iris Garrett Juvenile Justice Correctional Complex. One array produces 600 kW and the other 800 kW of electricity. According to project planners, the county will realize the following benefits:

  • Solar Incentives over 5 years, totaling $1,578,610
  • Electrical Utility Savings over 25 Years, Estimated totaling $13,892,500
  • Total Positive cash flow to County over 25 Years = $8,685,000
  • PG&E Capital Improvement Rebate eligibility

There are some additional benefits as well - According to Siemens Greenhouse Gas Calculator, the solar PV system and the energy-efficient lighting upgrades will reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 999.85 tons.

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