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Community Community Oceanside

City solar energy efforts move into phase two, add eight sites

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside is moving into phase two of its efforts to power city facilities with alternative energy. City Council gave the go-ahead April 20 for solar photovoltaic systems to be installed at eight additional city sites.

Sites added to the list are Mission Basin Ground Water Purification Facility, harbor north, harbor south, fire stations 4, 5 and 6, the fire training facility and Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

Earlier approved sites are Melba Bishop Community Center, El Corazon Senior Center, police headquarters, fire station 7 and the city operations center.

Systems solar panels will be mounted on newly built carports at most sites. One of the 13 sites has a roof mount system, and another has a ground mount. Each system will be sized to meet the energy needs of the facility.

The ground mount system at the Mission Basin facility will be the largest, followed by parking canopy mount system at Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

All systems will be installed and maintained by PFMG Solar at no cost to the city. In exchange, the city will purchase power from the company at lower rates than current SDG&E charges. The power purchase agreement locks in the low rates, while SDG&E rates average a 5 percent yearly increase.

Energy savings from the project is estimated to be $11 million over 25 years. Savings will be shared by the city general fund, water department and harbor.

Another benefit of the agreement is new construction of parking lot carports, and a police headquarters roof, which will be built by the company at no charge. The builds are estimated to cost more than $4 million.

At the end of the 25-year power purchase agreement the city has options to renew terms, buy the systems or have them removed.

Installation will be done with minimal disturbance to both site use and nature.

A number of trees need to be removed where it is unavoidable. Paul Mikos, PFMG Solar president, said the carbon emissions reduction gained by the solar energy system far outweighs what the removed trees would reduce.

Phase one was approved in April 2015. Its installations will begin this summer.

Phase two systems are scheduled to be installed in fall. The north and south harbor sites need coastal permits before systems           go in.