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  • Renewable energy efforts mean job creation, solar savings

    Feb 19, 2015 | Read More News
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    Pima County has created more than 1,000 jobs and saved $1.95 million in energy costs by increasing the proportion of renewable energy it uses, according to a series of reports prepared by the County’s Office of Sustainability and Conservation in collaboration with multiple departments and presented to County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry.

    Installing solar panelsSince 2009, Pima County has increased its solar energy portfolio from zero Megawatts to 9.6 Megawatts, enough to meet nearly 11 percent of its annual electricity consumption. As a result, the county has avoided 14,990 metric tons of CO2e emissions, conserved 9,402,796 gallons of water and helped produce 1,087 local jobs.

    By 2025, the county will have saved in excess of $17 million. In a memorandum to the Board of Supervisors, Huckelberry noted the county could save approximately $338,000 per year if the Arizona Corporation Commission’s current Net Metering rules were changed to allow Aggregated Net Metering.

    A total of nine Pima County solar projects have been completed, and four more are planned. All but one of the projects have been installed at no cost to the county through either a Power Purchasing Agreement or a Solar Service Agreement in which the county receives solar power at a price less than or equal to what it is paying Tucson Electric Power Company at the time of installation and is fixed for 20 years.

    Solar energy projects completed between 2009 and 2014 include the Sullivan Jackson Employment Center, Roger Road Wastewater Reclamation Facility; A-7 Ranch, Herbert K. Abrams Public Health Center, Ina Road Wastewater Reclamation Facility and Prairie Fire Solar.

    Solar projects commissioned in 2014 include the Northwest YMCA, Pima County Fleet Services and the Pima Emergency Communications Operations Center. Solar projects planned for 2015 include Regional Wastewater Reclamation facilities in Green Valley, Avra Valley and Corona de Tucson. Solar projects are also planned at multiple sites along Ajo Way in 2016.

    Such efforts to meet the renewable energy targets outlined in 2014 Sustainable Action Plan approved by the Board of Supervisors are creating immediate economic and environmental benefits for county taxpayers and will continue to do so into the future.

    Read the full report here.