OCEANSIDE — A groundbreaking ceremony for the 3,168-panel solar energy facility that will fuel the San Luis Rey Water Reclamation Facility was held Thursday.
Installation of the energy facility on 10 acres of city owned land adjacent to the reclamation facility on North River Road is scheduled to start this September.
“It’s the first solar energy installation for the city,” Cari Dale, water utilities director, said.
The solar facility is estimated to be up and running by January and will save the city $82,000 annually in energy costs.
The green energy system will also earn the city carbon credits that can be used to offset other projects or be sold on the open market.
“It has the value of cleaner air, passive clean energy, no noise to neighboring properties, there are a lot of pluses with this project,” Dale said.
SunPower Corporation took over the project and public private partnership with the city a few months ago. The corporation will install and maintain the system and absorb all project costs.
In turn SunPower will sell the solar-generated energy to the city at a lower price than SDG&E electricity.
Nathan Griset, SunPower Corporation project development manager said the project will be built to last and include GPS tracking so the 60-inch-by-40-inch panels can self adjust to face the sun.
In addition to saving the city $1.6 million over 20 years the energy that is generated is green, renewal and uninterrupted.
“Truly every small effort we do to help the environment counts,” Deputy Mayor Jack Feller said. “As a city it’s the right thing to do.”