Tulare County to use solar energy at several facilities

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- With a flip of a switch, Tulare County is one step closer to using solar energy at several facilities.

The project has been several years in the making with ENGIE Service.

The solar company has worked with several government agencies throughout the state and that caught the eye of Tulare County leaders.

"I had seen many projects throughout our region," said county supervisor Kulyer Crocker. "Energy efficacy and generation projects and I knew we were missing an opportunity in Tulare County."

Tulare County has signed a 25-year contract with ENGIE that's expected to save the county $40 million in electricity during that time.

The county did not pay anything up front thanks to financing, but it will cost $2-$3 million a year to maintain the solar panels.

CEO of ENGIE John Mahoney says the county will get the money back with these solar panels saving energy at each site that includes the Tulare County Government Plaza.

"It includes energy storage. The three sites have energy back up battery storage," Mahoney said. "You essentially get to use solar-generated electricity even when the sun is not shinning."

ENGIE says the solar panels will also cut down on carbon generated emissions.

With the cut down on the cost of electricity, Tulare County leaders have a vision on where they'll direct the savings.

"Our biggest priorities are on public safety," Crocker said. "So I would imagine most of the savings are going to go back into facilities to rehabilitate and also help out with our public safety officials."
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