California gets stimulus for solar power

March 18, 2010 at 9:26 AM
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WOODLAND, Calif., March 18 (UPI) -- A northern California community said it was taking the unique step to use U.S. economic stimulus funds to build a 1-megawatt solar power facility.

Yolo County in northern California said it teamed with solar power company SunPower Corp. and Bank of America to work on the design and construction of a 1-megawatt solar power system.

The partners are financing the project in part through clean energy renewable energy bonds and energy conservation bonds available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Ray Groom, the Yolo County general services director, said his community has no out-of-pocket expenses for the facility. The project would save the community an estimated $8.8 million in energy costs over the next 25 years, he added.

The system uses plans developed by SunPower that lets solar panels track the movement of the sun, increasing the amount of sunlight captured by 25 percent over conventional panels.

Yolo County said the amount of harmful greenhouse gas emissions removed by the project is equal to removing more than 5,700 cars from California roads over the 30-year life cycle of the solar project.

Groom said he believed the Yolo County project was the first solar project to make use of clean energy bonds under the federal stimulus package.

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