Alameda County Saves $540,000 a Year with SunPower

The combined solar electric power and energy efficiency solutions we have implemented with SunPower illustrate the future of energy and facility management. Our investment in solar power has helped Alameda County lower overall energy costs, reduce pollution, and conserve natural resources—all distinct benefits for the citizens and communities of Alameda County.”

– Matt Muniz, P.E., Energy Program Manager, Alameda County

They say sustainability starts at home. For Alameda County, home happens to be 738 square miles on the east side of the San Francisco Bay—population 1.4 million. Since the 1990s, the County has demonstrated its commitment to sustainability with numerous energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. In 2001, Alameda County launched one of the nation’s most ambitious solar projects to date. The County asked SunPower to design and install a rooftop solar power system at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, alongside substantial energy efficiency upgrades. Today, six years and eight more solar power systems later, Alameda County has incorporated over 3.1 megawatts of total onsite solar power atop its facilities—more than any other local government in the United States. As a result, the County has solidified its place as a leader in onsite renewable energy, sparing both the environment and the bottom line.

Longtime Environmental Leader Embraces Solar Power As a Natural Next Step

As a longtime leader in smart energy strategies, Alameda County has always searched for new ways to protect the environment while reducing operating costs. In January of 2001, the County turned to solar power, asking SunPower to design and install a solar power system covering more than three acres atop the Santa Rita Jail. SunPower was chosen for its large-scale installation experience, its combined offering of both solar and energy efficiency, and its reputation for service, performance, and responsiveness.Combined with a comprehensive energy-efficiency retrofit, the project became the largest municipal-owned solar power system in the United States. Based on its economic savings and high performance, in 2004 Alameda County contracted with SunPower to design and install seven more solar power systems at County facilities. In April 2007, the County completed its most recent solar project at the new Juvenile Justice Center in San Leandro.

Alameda County Reduces Electricity Load and Saves

Clean energy is also cost-effective and reliable energy. The County now supplies more than 3.1 megawatts of electricity through the use of solar—which is equivalent to the electricity needed to power more than 3,000 homes during the day. By integrating solar power with energy efficiency, Alameda County saves more than $540,000 a year in avoided electricity purchases. And, because the solar systems power 7% of the County’s overall facility needs—reducing electrical load by an equal amount—they reduce grid strain during peak times.

Of course, clean energy also means better quality of life for constituents. Over the next 30 years, the County’s solar power systems will prevent 38,600 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. This is equivalent to planting over 10,890 acres of trees, or not driving over 96 million miles on California’s roadways. Alameda County continues to publicize its commitment to the environment, working closely with SunPower to educate both the public and other government agencies

Projects
  • 1.18 MW Rooftop: Santa Rita Jail,Dublin, CA
  • 882 kW Rooftop: Juvenile Justice Center,San Leandro, CA
  • 250 kW Tracking Parking System:Winton Parking Lot, Hayward, CA
  • 250 kW Tracking Parking System: Fremont Hall of Justice Parking Lot, Fremont, CA
  • 234 kW Rooftop: Winton Avenue Government Building, Hayward, CA
  • 117 kW Rooftop: Office of Emergency Services,Dublin, CA
  • 97 kW Rooftop: Environmental Health Services Headquarters, Alameda, CA
  • 85 kW Rooftop: Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse, Oakland, CA
  • 53 kW Rooftop: Public Works Building, Hayward, CA
Environmental Awards and Recognition
  • 2005 Green Power Leadership Award (Solar II Project)
  • 2002 Green Power Leadership Award (SRJ Solar Project)
  • 2002 Challenge Award from the California State Association of Counties (CSAC)(Energy Program)
  • 2002 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership (Energy Program)
  • 2002 Flex Your Power Energy Award (Energy Program)
  • 2002 Energy Efficient Building Award for Best Institutional Project (SRJ Solar Project)
Project Overview

Location:    Nine locations throughout Alameda County, California
Completed:    2002-2007
Installation Type:    Commercial Roof and Parking Systems
System Size:    3.1 MW
PV Surface Area:    Over 300,000 square feet or 7 acres
Number of Panels:    19,163
Products:    SunPower® PowerGuard®, SunPower® Tracker

Benefits
  • Powers 7% of County’s total energy load
  • Saves $540,000 a year in electricity costs
  • Provides enough daytime electricity to power more than 3,000 homes
  • Will prevent over 38,600 tons of carbon emissions over 30 years, equivalent to not driving over 96 million miles