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Date last updated: Monday, November 21, 15:08 PST

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Calif. PD's solar panels will save $1 million

By Anne Marie Fuller
Contra Costa Times

The Tracy Police Department recently has seen a flurry of activity, with most of the police cruisers parked across the street.

For the past two weeks, a local company, Renewable Integrator Inc., has been installing solar panels in the back parking lot of the department.

Installation wrapped up last week, and the project should be fully operational within the next three weeks.

"The police department has been very cooperative with this project," Renewable Integrator owner Joe Silveira said. "We are right on target with our schedule. Having solar will lessen the cost of energy to the city and lessen their CO2 footprint, the amount of CO2 the city would use to produce that power by other means."

Added police Capt. John Espinoza. "The department wants to be good stewards to the community by saving money and using alternative energy."

Altogether, 66 solar panels were installed, each weighing about 45 pounds and measuring 3 feet by 5 feet. The project is anticipated to save the city a little more than $1 million over the next 30 years.

The system will produce 66.9 kilowatt hours per day, about 12.2 kilowatts per hour and 5.5 noon time hours per day.

The project was funded by a large grant from the Department of Energy.

The money will be split between the police department and Boyd Service Center, which is scheduled to get 297 solar panels at a later date.

"We are making an investment for the future," City Councilman Steve Abercrombie said.

"We are also helping the environment and cutting costs. I've seen how solar works first hand ... my family put in solar panels at our home about seven years ago, and we've already seen the benefit. We noticed reductions in our bill right away. Solar is a smart investment."

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