Tulare County ready to make the ‘switch’ to solar

Tulare County government facilities estimate a $40 million saving in energy over next quarter century


VISALIA – Tulare County is going green. Not with cannabis of course, but with energy.

Last week the Tulare County Board Supervisors, county staff and community members gathered to “Flip the Switch” at Government Plaza. The symbolic light switch denotes the County’s new partnership to implement a large-scale solar energy project at several County facilities, including Government Plaza, County Civic Center, Bob Wiley Detention Facility, and the new South County Detention Facility. The energy saving program is expected to generate approximately $40 million in savings over the next 25 years and reduce electricity spending by 70%.

“I knew Tulare County had many opportunities for electric generation and efficiency when I first joined the Board,” stated Chairman Kuyler Crocker. “ENGIE approached us with a proposal that would allow us to keep our reserves intact, but realize the cost savings. This large scale project will allow for future energy efficiency projects, maximize utility cost savings, and utilize precious taxpayer dollars for vital County Services.”

Aligning with the County’s Strategic Business Plan to promote fiscal and environmental responsibility, the new solar project is expected to eliminate carbon generated emissions equivalent to taking 2,700 cars of the road every year in use.

ENGIE Services designed, engineered and installed a total 9.2 megawatts of solar photovoltaic (PV) power on solar shade parking structures and ground mount structures. In addition, the project includes 1 MW/2 MWh of battery energy storage systems to store electricity and maximize generation capacity.

“The ENGIE Services U.S. team has been proud to work with Tulare County over the past two years – helping deliver next generation energy solutions to help address both the financial and environmental challenges that many counties across California are faced with,” shared John Mahoney, CEO and President of ENGIE Services North America.

“By using a Solar PPA model combined with battery storage, Tulare County maximizes the economic value and resiliency of their energy infrastructure. Congratulations to the County on the launch of this next chapter of their energy transformation.»

The new renewable energy equipment is financed through a power purchase agreement with ENGIE Services allowing the County to pay zero upfront capital and the ability to lock in a low fixed electricity rate for the next 25 years. The new large-scale solar project is expected to be fully operational at all seven County sites by the Fall this year.

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