County jail goes solar

Oakland, Calif. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors has given the green light for PowerLight of Berkeley to install a 500kW solar electric installation believed to be the largest roof-mounted system in the United States at its Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, Calif. In addition, the supervisors approved the installation of several energy-efficiency projects by CMS Viron Energy Services as part of the

Oakland, Calif.— The Alameda County Board of Supervisors has given the green light for PowerLight of Berkeley to install a 500kW solar electric installation — believed to be the largest roof-mounted system in the United States — at its Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, Calif.

In addition, the supervisors approved the installation of several energy-efficiency projects by CMS Viron Energy Services as part of the county’s aggressive efforts to reduce and stabilize future energy costs.

Once the Santa Rita project is complete, it will reduce the facility’s consumption of grid-generated electricity by 20%, through both solar power generation and energy conservation.

“We estimate that Alameda County will save an average of $190,000 in electricity costs per year as a result of deploying solar power, leading to $5.5 million in overall savings,” said county energy program manager Matt Muniz. “By installing PowerLight’s PowerGuard system, we’ll reduce costs, reduce pollution and conserve natural resources. The unique attributes of the solar installation will not only supply us with clean power, but will also deliver HVAC benefits as well.”

The Alameda County project will take a twofold approach to reducing Santa Rita jail’s electric utility bill. First, clean energy will be generated through the giant 500kW solar installation consisting of 6,000 roof tiles. Second, the jail’s energy efficiency will be dramatically improved through a combination of added insulation from the solar roof tiles and a comprehensive upgrade to the jail’s central plant, including state-of-the-art cooling equipment and controls.

The project will be finished by early summer and result in the annual generation of 650,000 kWh of clean energy, saving an additional 890,000 kWh.