Brea Top Solar Power City In Orange County

Brea, in Orange County, Calif., is at work way on three separate projects that will give it around 1.8 megawatts (MW) of solar power capacity. It’s all part of a larger energy infrastructure effort that the city figures will reduce its power use by 40 percent and save it $13 million over 25 years.

Sharp, which is providing the panels for the solar installations at the city’s Community Center, Civic & Cultural Center and Reservoir City Pump Yard, said together the Brea systems make up the largest civic solar project in Orange County – pretty remarkable for a city of around just 40,000 people.

solar power project, Brea, Orange County, California

image via City of Brea

The energy infrastructure work includes installing occupancy sensors and new lighting at 14 sites, putting in energy-efficient induction street lighting and doing major upgrades on city heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.

The city is taking advantage of Southern California Edison rebates to help pay for the work. In a February update, it said the utility had already issued five rebate checks to the city, with two more pending. “In addition,” the city wrote, “reductions already seen in recent electricity bills will be continuing, assuring that a lot less money has to come out of the bank to pay for power going forward. That’s what the whole project is about!”

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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