Yuba County supervisors have authorized going ahead with the sale of bonds for installation of a $5.8 million solar project at the county airport.

Supervisors voted 4-0 Tuesday, with Supervisor Randy Fletcher absent, to execute the appropriate documents and offer the bonds to finance the array on the west side of the airport near the county animal shelter.

Combined with 2011 projects that power the County Government Center in Marysville and Health and Human Services in Linda, the new array will result in all 13 county facilities being solar powered.

The move came after the board in August approved entering into a contract with Opterra Energy Services, Inc., formerly Chevron Energy Solutions, to do the work on the 1.6-kilowatt project. Construction will be funded by Clean Renewable Energy Bonds.

Under the arrangement, the county can borrow up to a maximum of $5.8 million at an interest rate not to exceed 5.5 percent. It is projected that the county will save about $165,000 a year over the 20-year life of the lease agreement.

While the county's general fund will be obligated to make the debt service payments, it is expected that energy savings and a federal subsidy will result in no payments coming from the general fund.

A major difference between the $10 million project in 2011 and the new array will be that for the initial project, it was required solar power could only be used for the buildings on which panels were attached. Under new regulations, an array can be constructed in one location and provide power to another.

Power generated at the airport solar project will be sold to PG&E, and then PG&E will provide credits to the electricity bills at the affected 11 facilities.

The project is expected to be completed in early 2016.

CONTACT Eric Vodden at 749-4769.


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