Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Local businesses take advantage of solar power

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, January 2, 2014 12:00 am

Saving energy and money by harnessing the sun’s power is nothing new, but a number of new projects went online in Lodi in 2013.

The city has offered a solar rebate program since 2007, as required by legislation. Approved in 2006, Senate Bill 1 requires all electric service providers like Lodi Electric Utility to provide incentives to switch to solar, such as rebates.

Rob Lechner, the city’s business development manager, said Lodi’s requirement is to provide $6.1 million in incentives. He said the city is on track to fulfill that requirement by 2017, when SB1 is set to expire.

Lodi’s rebate program has generated 180 solar customers since 2007, 30 of which are non-residential. In 2013, four commercial, industrial and nonprofit businesses applied for rebates and were approved, including LOEL Center and Garden.

Tracy Williams, CEO and president of the LOEL Foundation, said the senior center was one of the city’s first solar rebate customers when the program began.

She said LOEL was actually one of the “test pilot” companies for the program, and it has worked out well for the nonprofit.

The center originally installed a 5-kilowatt solar panel system on the rear section of its building. When the opportunity arose to install more panels and apply for a rebate in 2012, Williams said the center took it. Three more panels were added in 2013.

“We use a lot of electricity here,” she said. “We’re open all day, and sometimes all seven days of the week. This has been really beneficial when it comes to saving money on our electric bill.”

Williams said the center’s bill can sometimes be as much as $2,000 a month. With the city’s rebate for installing solar equipment, she said LOEL has saved as much as $500 a month.

Softcom in Galt recently submitted plans to install photovoltaic panels on the roof top of their building on Industrial Drive. The goal of that solar project is also to reduce utility bills, as providing Internet services to a larger clientele has significantly increased power usage.

In 2012, Galt dairyman Leo Van Warmerdam converted more than 200 acres into a farm including rows of six-foot long solar panels to capture sunlight for conversion into electricity.

“There have been a lot of solar projects in and around Galt over the last few years, including the city’s wastewater treatment plant,” Galt City Manager Jason Behrmann said.

There, the arrays of solar panels that move throughout the day to collect the sun’s energy are leased from SMUD under a 20-year agreement. In the first year of operation in 2011, the set-up saved about $40,000.

Galtonians, too, may soon be able to make similar solar-friendly upgrades through a new clean energy county program.

Earlier this month, the Galt City Council voted to partner with Sacramento County to allow property owners to voluntarily finance certain conservation measures by repaying a loan through special taxes on their property tax bills. This not only reduces the upfront costs, but allows the cost improvements to be shared with future property owners.

LOEL’s Williams said the center would apply for rebates again if it needed to install more equipment, and the city has been great to work with.

“It’s just a great program,” she said. “We’re a nonprofit, so anything to help us save some money really helps. The more we use (the solar equipment), the greater it will help in the long-run.”

Other rebate applicants approved this year were Lodi Unified School District, Lodi Seventh-Day Adventist Elementary School and Farwest Safety, Inc.

More about

More about

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don't pretend you're someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don't insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.

Welcome to the discussion.

Video

Popular Stories

Poll

Loading…

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists