The city of Santa Barbara will start construction on Santa Barbara’s largest solar photovoltaic installation at an event at the City Parks Yard, 620 Laguna St., at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Mayor Marty Blum, Public Works Director Christine Andersen and representatives from Tioga Energy and El Solutions will speak about the innovative renewable energy project.

They will be joined by city councilmembers, staff and community leaders who support the city’s achievements in renewable energy. Attendees will be able to view the rooftops and learn how the solar project will supply more than half of the energy demand of the public works and community development department offices. 

Santa Barbara partnered with Tioga Energy and EI Solutions to plan the city’s largest solar energy project. EI Solutions designed and will construct the system using Suntech solar panels. Tioga Energy will finance, own and operate the solar energy system for the city under the terms of a power purchase agreement.

As part of the Sustainable Santa Barbara Program, the city is taking many steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout its facilities and vehicle fleet. About 23 percent of the city’s total electrical energy use is derived from renewable energy. A fuel cell generator at the El Estero Wastewater Treatment Plant transforms methane gas to electrical energy on a daily basis. Energy conservation is also a top priority. 

To learn more about the city of Santa Barbara’s efforts to prevent climate change and become more sustainable, check out the new 2008 Annual Sustainable Santa Barbara Report on the city’s Web site at

Nina Johnson represents the city of Santa Barbara.