The electricity generated by the project is currently being used to power many county buildings, such as the jail, the Sheriff Administration office, the 9-1-1 call center, the Election Office, the Clerk Recorder Assessor office, and the mental and public health hospitals, according to county energy manager Roy Hapeman.
Hapeman said the array is expected to generate 1.7 million kilowatt-hours of power per year — an amount sufficient enough to power 100 homes — and will account for about a third of the energy needed to fully power the site.
Construction for the project began in September 2011, but it was not up and running until May.
The county was able to finance the installation using money from federal Quality Energy Conservation Bonds, a debt policy that allows local and state governments to borrow money from the federal government to fund energy conservation-related projects. The bonds have a 15-year term with an effective rate of 1.2 percent.
The county will also receive a $1.7 million rebate from the California Solar Initiative.
Hapeman said the county expects to save about $12 million in electricity costs throughout the system’s operation and reduce its carbon emissions by an amount equivalent to taking 150 cars off the road or planting 20,000 trees a year.