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Posted on: October 20, 2014

First of Four Coconino County Solar Projects Begin

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County begins installation of solar panels will save taxpayers money

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — In an effort to diversify its energy use and save taxpayer dollars, Coconino County is installing solar panels at four Flagstaff facilities this fall and into next year.

Through a public/private partnership with Sun Edison and Sun Valley Solar Solutions, it’s anticipated that the County and Jail District will save more than $2.3 million over the next 25 years. The companies were awarded the projects following a competitive bid process.

The projects will harness the power of 264 sunny days in Flagstaff to offset electricity costs by installing solar panels at the County Health and Community Services building, the City of Flagstaff/Sheriff’s Office Law Enforcement Administrative Facility (LEAF), the County Jail and Juvenile Services buildings.

“The four sites selected for the solar projects account for more than 60 percent of the County’s total electricity consumption,” County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Mandy Metzger said. “We have a long-term perspective on managing our energy portfolio: we’ve become more energy efficient, but the cost of what we do use will continue to increase as rates keep going up.”

“By purchasing this renewable resource at a set rate over the next 25 years, we are diversifying our energy sources, paying a lower cost over the long term and truly acting as stewards of our county’s future,” Supervisor Metzger added.

The $5.6 million project is financed by Sun Edison at no cost to tax payers. Under the partnership, the 1.2 megawatt solar installations are expected to generate 2.1 million kWh in the first year. Sun Edison will own the system, while Sun Valley Solar Solutions constructs the installations.

The County will lease the solar space in parking areas and on roofs in return for the energy produced at a lower set rate over the next 25 years. In August, Sun Valley Solar Solutions broke ground on the first project at the Health and Community Services building in Flagstaff.

“Coconino County leadership is demonstrating impressive fiscal and environmental stewardship with their sustainability initiative, and we’re extremely proud to be selected as their preferred solar partner for such an important program,” said Russ Patzer, CEO at Sun Valley Solar Solutions.

The solar projects continue the County’s efforts to increase energy efficiency and explore alternate sources of energy at multiple facilities.

County Facilities Management fine-tuned and upgraded climate control systems to ensure they are running as efficiently as possible, have worked to properly seal windows and doors and have tracked and corrected fluctuations in equipment operations to increase efficiency and reduce energy consumption in the county’s buildings.

“These projects are vital to saving tax dollars and are great examples of pairing rural resourcefulness with new opportunities to become more efficient for the future to come,” Supervisor Metzger said.

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Contact: Public Information Officer Nathan Gonzalez
Phone: 928-679-7172
Cell: 928-699-1726
E-mail: ngonzalez@coconino.az.gov

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