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Carlsbad Community Community News

Solar panels will give Alga Norte free energy by 2026

CARLSBAD—Alga Norte Community Park is the city’s newest and most environmentally friendly park.

It will be even more efficient at the end of the year thanks to the installation of 720 solar energy panels.

The panels are being installed in two rows on the north end of the parking lot and are expected to provide energy by Dec. 31.

They serve two purposes, energy production and shade. Officials estimate the panel installation will cost $975,000 but the city will pay $720,000 thanks to a state rebate of about $254,000.

The panels will save taxpayers $66,000 annually in energy costs, according to Communications Manager Kristina Ray.

Analysts expect the project to have paid for itself by 2026. After that, the park will receive energy at no additional cost.

“We evaluated the initial cost investment versus reducing our energy costs,” said city of Carlsbad Civic Projects Manager Patrick McGarry. “With the increased electrical rates, increased production of the solar cells and lower solar cell costs, we are seeing a very healthy return on our investment.”

Along with saving taxpayers money, the panels reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Over 25 years, carbon dioxide emissions will be cut by more than 6,800 tons.

The panels have a 25-year warranty but are expected to last 30 years, according to Ray.

The panels are being installed by a Vista company, Independent Energy Solutions.

The park already uses solar thermal heating panels for the pool. The panels are on park rooftops and shade structures.

They use the sun’s energy to preheat the pool water before it goes into natural-gas-powered heaters.

“Before we decided to install solar panels we looked at every facet of the park’s design and reduced our overall energy demand by 30 percent,” said McGarry.

“The new solar system will mean that the park will generate nearly all of its own electricity, which is a big savings for taxpayers.

High efficiency lighting throughout the park saves $54,000 a year in energy costs.

Energy efficient LED fixtures used in the pool, parking lot, building exteriors and walkways save taxpayers $14,000 a year in energy costs.

The lighting in the sports field and the aquatic center save $40,000 annually.

Another cost-saver is an energy meter used specifically for outdoor lights. Since San Diego Gas & Electric charges a lower rate on outdoor lighting, the meter cuts down on costs.

SDG&E  offers the discount because the lights are turned on during periods of low energy demand.

All of the energy efficient infrastructure won the park the 2014 “Project of the Year” award from the San Diego/Imperial chapter of American Public Works Association.

This December will mark the park’s first year of being operational.

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1 comment

Ron Winton November 20, 2014 at 12:53 pm

The best choice for solar panels, especially for solar parking canopies is new, lower cost, much higher performance, Hyper X 2 bifacial (double sided)solar panels that produces power from both sides of the panel.

This advanced technology has been around for the past 6 years but it was always considered to be far too expensive to install. Now because of new technological advances Hyper X 2 Bifacial solar panels can be purchased at a much lower cost than many standard single sided solar panels.

Instead of boxy looking 1 1/2 to 2 inch thick framed Gen 1 solar panels, these new higher performance Gen 2 solar panels are only 1/4 inch thin and are made with a stronger, see through, glass on glass, frameless, construction that allows sunlight to pass through and reflect off the roof’s surface, thus illuminating the backside of the double sided solar cells, producing additional power.

The new 300 Watt, 60 cell solar panels that are used in Hyper X 2 solar systems offers a better PTC to STC ratio “Real World” performance according to the California Energy Commission’s performance rating listings than over 119 of SunPower’s solar panel models.

And they offer a very high 94.3% PTC to STC performance ratio. They also offersa heat resistant -0.31%/degree C temperature coefficient for better performance in warm/hot climates. And when it comes to aesthetics, nothing even comes close to Hyper X 2’s panel’s glass on glass, see through, frameless construction.

With N-type mono-crystalline bifacial cells for double sided power production, up to a 21.5% efficiency rating, superior aesthetics, and a price that outcompetes the solar lease and PPA company’s offerings, very few products on the market compares to Hyper X 2 Solar.

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