SAN FRANCISCO — One of the largest municipal solar installations in California was recently completed at Sunset Reservoir in San Francisco.
The solar installation is made up of 24,000 solar panels installed on top of the North Basin of the Sunset Reservoir that will generate up to 5 megawatts daily of renewable energy.
The project is expected to reduce carbon emissions by about 80,000 metric tons over the course of its 25-year lifetime while helping to "satisfy the diverse clean energy needs of the City's municipal buildings and facilities," according to city officials.
The project triples San Francisco's municipal solar generating capacity from 2 megawatts to more than 7 megawatts. The new solar array covers an area the size of approximately 12 football fields and will provide energy for San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco International Airport, police stations, fires houses and public transportation.
"With this one project, we are tripling the amount of solar power used by San Francisco's local government and powering up California's largest municipal solar array," said Gavin Newsom, the former mayor who shepherded the project from beginning to fruition before leaving office to serve as lieutenant governor. "San Francisco is leading by example towards California's future of green jobs and a growing economy built on renewable energy and a cleaner environment."
The project is a public-private partnership between the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and Recurrent Energy, which allows it to leverage a 30 percent federal tax credit available only to private companies — a move that dramatically lowered the project's construction costs.
The city reports that the SFPUC will purchase power from Recurrent Energy through a power purchase agreement at a discounted rate, saving $26 million over the 25-year lifetime of the project. Under this agreement, Recurrent Energy has also assumed all of the risk of financing, building and operating the project.
"The Sunset Reservoir's five megawatts of clean, renewable energy will further diversify the SFPUC's 100 percent greenhouse gas-free energy portfolio," said Ed Harrington, SFPUC General Manager. "I want to thank the members of the SFPUC Renewable Team who have added 7 megawatts of municipal solar generating capacity here in the city in less than six years."