Madera County to save millions by using solar energy in several government buildings

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Madera County is now using solar power for several government buildings and the move to use clean energy will save the county millions of dollars.

Tuesday morning the Madera County Board of Supervisors celebrated the completion of a solar energy project that qualified the county for a $1.3 million rebate from Pacific Gas and Electric. The county took part in the California Solar Initiative Rebate Program. "They were instrumental in providing these incentives to the county so they could move forward with securing funding, and, providing the incentives needed to make this project go forward," said Mary Diebert, PG&E Account Manager.

The board of supervisors approved the solar energy project back in 2014 but started looking at the idea back in the recession of 2008 and 2009 after a number of layoffs and consolidations. "We had done everything we could do to save money. And then we started focusing on energy savings, and that became a big benefit to the county," said David Rogers, Madera County Supervisor.

Over a one year period, Op-Terra Energy Services installed solar panels to provided energy to the county's government center, library, and jail complex. The cost of construction was $11 million but local leaders said the project will be ultimately paid for from the generated energy savings. "We're saving about $15-million over the life of project, not to mention after we own it. It will continue to generate savings, and that's money that can be spent on public safety versus just throwing money into energy," said Rogers.

That money will now go into the county's general fund on local fire and law enforcement for years to come.
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