Environment & Science

New carport solar saves money for Orange County

Solar panels will help Orange County save money.
Solar panels will help Orange County save money.
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Carport solar structures at five different Orange County facilities will save money and provide shaded parking at the same time.

The installations are part of a public-private partnership between the county and Huntington Beach-based PsomasFMG.

Paul Mikos, a partner in PsomasFMG, said the solar firm covers the project’s upfront costs, including installation.

“If the county was to buy this system, it would cost millions of dollars," said Mikos. “So in this case, with no money down, no capital expenditures whatsoever, they get the system and their only obligation is to buy electricity.”

He said a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with PsomasFMG locks in the county’s energy costs. Orange County expects to save $4 million to $6 million in electricity costs over the span of the agreement.

County sites using the solar power systems are the James A. Musick Facility, the County Operations Center, the Social Services Agency & Sheriff’s Communication facilities, the Katella Peace Officer Training Facility and the Collins Yard.

The systems are expected to provide about 60 to 80 percent of the electricity needs for each location. All of the systems are expected to be completed and soaking up the sun by October.

Mikos said PsomasFMG has supplied solar power systems to ten high schools in the Antelope Valley Union High School District and schools in Palmdale. He said the company expects to sign more agreements with other school districts.

Mikos said with schools facing budget problems, the solar power installations help districts reduce their electricity expenses.