Police go solar: Sonoma PD and community meeting room now using solar power
Novato- and Sonoma-based SolarCraft announced they have completed installation and commissioning of a 52.4 kW solar electric system at the Sonoma Police Department, Sonoma, CA. The photovoltaic solar energy system will offset nearly 70% of the annual bill for the Police Department/Community Meeting room. Excess power generated will be fed into the PG&E grid for credit towards future use.
To go solar, Sonoma took advantage of zero interest bonds available in 2008 to help cities and public agencies migrate towards green energy. Sonoma PD’s new solar energy system will reduce the building’s ongoing operating costs, and along with a new emergency generator system, meet the disaster preparedness and emergency services needs of the community.
SolarCraft’s unique solar energy system design offered something the other project bidders didn’t. Each of the 279 solar modules is controlled by individual micro-inverters manufactured by Enphase Energy of Petaluma, CA. “We have a telecommunications tower on the south side of the building,” said Rob Gjestland, Sonoma’s senior planner, “and it acts like a sundial as the sun moves across the sky.” Unlike conventional solar electric systems, the micro-inverters allow the rest of the solar modules to produce at full capacity no matter how many panels are shaded, and greatly increase the overall system efficiency.
The roof-mounted system utilizes U.S. manufacturer Sharp solar panels, covers 4,900 square feet of the south roofs, helps shade and protect the building, and reduces summer cooling load. The solar energy system is expected to generate 89,000 kilowatt hours annually. That’s enough electricity to power more than 20 average homes and spare the air of approximately 47 tons of harmful greenhouse gases annually. This reduction in carbon emissions is comparable to planting nearly sixteen acres of trees or more than 3 million miles of avoided driving over the 30 year life of the solar energy system.
The monitoring display for the PV solar energy system, located in the lobby outside the Community Meeting Room, is available for public viewing.
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