Monday, June 18 , 2018, 10:12 pm | Fair 62º


Caltrans Solar Projects to Save the State $52.5 Million

Solar energy systems will be installed at 70 facilities throughout California

The California Department of Transportation on Thursday announced that it plans to install $20 million in new solar energy systems at 70 of its facilities throughout the state, saving California taxpayers an estimated $52.5 million in energy costs over 25 years.

The panels will harvest energy from the sun, producing more than 3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year and eliminating 2.8 million pounds of greenhouse gases annually — at no cost to California taxpayers.

In 2006, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 32, California’s landmark bill that established a first-in-the-world program to reduce greenhouse gases.

“We’re putting people back to work on green projects that will help our economy, promote energy conservation, improve air quality and reduce global warming,” Schwarzenegger said.

Caltrans is part of California’s Climate Action Program and was one of the first state agencies to be certified as a Climate Action Leader by the California Climate Action Registry.

“This project is a great example of how to use innovative financing to green state government, make it more cost-effective for taxpayers, and bolster businesses and jobs in a vital sector of our economy,” state Treasurer Bill Lockyer said. “In just a short time, taxpayers will make a return on their investment, and over the long term they’ll save themselves millions of dollars in energy costs.”

The Caltrans solar projects are being financed through the sale of Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREB), which will be paid back in annual payments over 15 years. Congress approved the CREB program in 2005 to encourage energy conservation, develop energy infrastructure and increase the use of alternative energy sources.

— David Anderson is a public information officer for the California Department of Transportation.

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