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NEVADA CITY, Calif. August 16, 2015 – The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the Nevada County Energy Conservation and Generation Program today. Five sites will be equipped with solar panels and generate up to 80% of the county government’s energy needs.
The Rood Center and Wayne Brown will be equipped with carport-mounted solar panels, the Lake of the Pines Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Ranch Property on Hwy 49 have ample space for ground-mounted panels and rooftop panels will be installed on Juvenile Hall. The project will be completed by early summer of 2017, barring any unforeseen difficulties.
Energy conservation measures will be folded into the project. They include:
• New HVAC Units at 7 sites
• Lighting and Lighting Control Upgrades at 15 sites
• Building Automation equipment at 7 sites
The locations benefiting from the upgrades are:
- Eric Rood Administrative Center
- Carl F. Bryan II Juvenile Hall
- Crown Point Facility
- Madelyn Helling Library
- Truckee Government Center
- Truckee Joseph Center
- Truckee Library
- Facilities Service Center
- Grass Valley Library Royce Branch
- Nevada County Animal Shelter
- Sheriff’s Property Unit
The total project cost is estimated at $12.8 million, financed by $10.8 million in New Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (NCREBS) and $2.0 million in tax‐exempt Energy Conservation Bonds.
Up and running in 2017
In 2015, Nevada County published a request for proposals (RFP) and awarded the contract to Climatec/Sunpower. In early 2016, the application for the federal bonds was submitted and contracts were approved by the BOS. The timeline below lists the outstanding milestones:
- Financing approval and bond funding—August 2016
- Equipment Purchase and Installation
- Energy Efficiency Measures—June 2017
- Solar Panels except Ranch Property—June 2017
- Ranch Property—between July & December 2017
- Project Completion—between July & December 2017
Nevada County Chief Fiscal Officer Martin Polt expects the project to be completed by early summer of 2017. The current very favorable interest rates make for great timing of the project.
Net savings starting Year 1
Annually, Nevada County uses approximately 5,856 Megawatt Hours (MWhr) of energy, at a cost of $1,108,230. Starting in Year 1 of the project, 4,728 MWhr will be generated by the solar installations, cutting the county’s electrical power bill by $894,783.
Annual debt service and maintenance cost amount to $838,690, leaving a net savings in Year 1 of $56,093. The cumulative net savings over the 20-year lifetime of the bonds amount to $6,891,635.
The public was absent from the agendized proceedings, missing the presentation and the public hearing.
The BOS had few questions for Polt, as supervisors have been following the project closely both as supervisors and as members of the Nevada County Finance Authority. After the unanimous vote on the project, the five supervisors, acting as Directors of the Sanitation District approved a sublease and easement on the sanitation district’s grounds in Lake of the Pines.
The staff memo prepared for the bard items reads, in part:
The Nevada County Energy Plan, adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2012, states as a policy that the County “is committed to reducing its demand for electricity, natural gas and water in order to conserve natural resources and to save funds that may help support other County needs,” and that “Facilities Management shall make every effort to identify funding opportunities and cost- reducing incentive programs to help the County achieve its resource conservation goals.”
Security for the NCREBS bonds will initially be the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility until the project is complete. After the project is complete, the security/collateral will transfer to the solar panels. Security for the Tax-Exempt bonds will be the Veterans Memorial Building, with flexibility such that the County has the option to substitute another like asset as security if it so desires in the future.
To facilitate the portion of the project related to the solar panels to be installed at the Lake of the Pines wastewater treatment facility, the Sanitation District will grant the County an easement upon which to install and maintain solar panels, and the Sanitation District will then sublease the property from the County, and will pay its fair share of debt service and administrative costs. As with other County participants, the San District and ratepayers benefit from lower energy costs and lower cost of financing afforded through the larger county financing of the Energy Project.