San Diego Leading By Example on Distributed Solar

By John Jameson, ICF on Jan 31, 2018

Building on its earlier lead-by-example actions to power municipal facilities with renewable energy, the City of San Diego, CA is now adding 19 solar PV arrays across the City. The locations for the arrays include City libraries, police stations, community centers, and maintenance facilities, among other municipal facilities. The City’s Climate Action Plan, adopted in December 2015, sets a target for the City to reach 100 percent renewable electricity supply citywide by 2035.

The project launched in July, 2017 and is expected to be completed in June, 2018. Once complete, the combination of rooftop and parking canopy solar will produce an estimated 6,200 MWh annually, with a total rated capacity of 4.1 MW. The arrays are estimated to produce net electricity cost savings of about 42 percent, or $14 million over 20 years. The City utilized a power purchase agreement to implement the project; as a result, the City is incurring no upfront capital costs. A number of other potential array sites were also identified as part of the assessment for the project, which may inform future work. The solar arrays advance the City’s Strategic Plan and Climate Action Plan; in addition to cost savings, the arrays will support local economic development, cut greenhouse gas emissions, relieve pressure on the local power grid by shaving peak electricity loads, and bolster the resiliency of the community, among other benefits.