Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sacramento Port Goes Solar

The inland California Port of West Sacramento announced that it has completed construction of a 637 kilowatt DC solar cell system to provide electric power to the port.

The system, approved in early 2008, includes more than 3,500 lead-free Mitsubishi Electric photovoltaic modules covering 90,000 square feet on the rooftops of two rice warehouse buildings at the port.

The solar system will provide about 95 percent of the port's electrical needs and reduce the port's annual energy costs by $20,000. Providing enough electricity to power nearly 90 average homes, the system will also cut the port's carbon dioxide emissions by more the 34 million pounds over the 25 years life expectancy of the system. Only one port customer, which maintains its own connection to the power grid, will not utilize power generated by the solar system. The port will continue to pull from the regular power grid when the solar system is not producing electricity.

The project was completed by a partnership between the port, Cypress, Calif.-based Mitsubishi Electric Wednesday and California commercial bank East West Bancorp, which provided the construction loan and long term financing. Construction and installation was handled by Auburn, California-based contractor Pacific Power Management LLC.

The Port of West Sacramento is located about 80 miles inland from San Francisco Bay.