The new on-site solar energy system being installed by SolarCity will total 1 MW and is expected to offset over 20% of the energy used on-site by HP. The system will be installed, owned, and managed, entirely by SolarCity — the electricity will be purchased by HP via the terms of a 20-year contract.
The deal — which was made with the help the City of Palo Alto, City of Palo Alto Utilities, and SolarCity financing partner Direct Energy Business — is expected to reduce HP’s utility power costs by, roughly, $1 million over the next twenty years. Taken as a whole, the system comprises more than 4,000 solar panels.
The press release provides a bit more information:
HP’s system, the largest solar system in Palo Alto to date, increases the amount of local solar power installed in Palo Alto by about 21% and is enough to power 214 typical homes for a year. The City of Palo Alto Utilities already purchases 100% carbon neutral electricity, however if HP’s solar installation is compared to the carbon footprint of power from fossil fuels, the system offsets the equivalent of planting more than 1.2 million trees.
Advances made by the City of Palo Alto Development Services Department allowed HP’s project to be constructed and operational much more quickly compared to solar installation timelines in years past. The city has developed mechanisms for issuing same day solar permits, which took almost 70 days in 2011, as well as cut inspection timelines by more than 80 days since 2011. Just two years ago, the city issued only 40 permits for solar in the entire year. In 2013, thanks to streamlined permitting and inspection processes as well as increased interest, the city was able to increase permits issued by more than 800%.
That stream-lining of solar permitting processes is something that we’ve discussed before, and represents a rather simple means of reducing the costs of installing solar systems, as well as making the whole process seem a lot more user-friendly. On that note, if you’re looking for more information on the subject, then I recommend you read this, and check out the linked-to website.
We also wrote specifically about Palo Alto’s streamlined solar permitting last year. From that article: “Under the new system, residents and business owners’ plans for PV systems may receive approval within five days of submitting all paperwork to the center. In fact, if a home or business owner wants to make an appointment with the city’s Development Center and has all the necessary paperwork in order, they could even walk out with an approved permit the day they go in. In reducing the time for permitting, the city also consolidated the inspection process.”
Palo Alto is also a strong leader on electric vehicles. I recommend checking out some of those stories if you’re interested in how cities can help move the EV revolution forward.
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