We told you in February that Brea was gunning to be top dog in municipal solar power in sunny Orange County, Calif. Well, now the city says it’s online with 1.8-megawatts of generating capacity – and you can track its power production, updated every 15 minutes, on the Web.
Panels were installed on the roof of the Brea Civic & Cultural Center. The panels overhang the building’s outdoor plaza, so they double as awnings and architectural features. Panels were also installed on the roof of the Brea Community Center as well as in the parking lot, making shady spaces for patrons. A third – and the largest – solar array was built over the city’s water reservoir, powering the pumps that distribute water to the city and reducing the cost to run them.
The installation, constructed in partnership with Chevron Energy Solutions, is expected to save the county $13 million over 25 years in addition to yielding the environmental benefits of clean, renewable energy. Solar was expected to trim the city’s power cost by 40 percent, but so far it’s been beating that, the city said, with a 65 percent electricity cost reduction at the Brea Community Center.
“The City of Brea – one of the smallest cities in the county – is now the largest producer of solar energy in Orange County,” Chevron President Jim Davis said. “Through this project, Brea has become a leader in energy efficiency in the county. It is a testament to the city’s ability to put words into action by using clean, renewable power to save energy and costs.”