City to install solar panels at Carmel Valley Recreation Center

The Carmel Valley Recreation Center will soon play a part in helping the city reach its renewable energy goals as outlined in San Diego’s recently-approved Climate Action Plan as the facility on Townsgate Drive has been tapped for the installation of rooftop and parking lot solar panels.

The project has been approved by the Carmel Valley Recreation Council and came before the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board as an informational item on Jan. 28.

San Diego City Council adopted its Climate Action Plan in December, which mandates reducing greenhouse gases 50 percent by 2035, more ambitious than Governor Jerry Brown’s goal of 40 percent by 2030.

The plan includes five main strategies to reach the reduction of greenhouse gas targets: energy and water efficient buildings, clean and renewable energy, bicycling, walking and transit, zero waste and climate resiliency.

James Chen, from San Diego’s environmental services department, said in 2014, the city completed a solar assessment of over 200 city facilities and identified the top 25 sites where solar could be installed to generate approximately 6.6 megawatts. Among the top sites was the Carmel Valley Recreation Center.

Chen said the systems will be developed, financed, installed and maintained through a third party power purchase agreement. The city will sign a 20-year agreement with the third party to provide energy at a price lower than SDG&E.

The Carmel Valley project includes carport canopies ranging in size from 70 to 100 feet in width over parking lot spaces, as well as 13.2 square feet of roof-mounted panels atop the recreation center building. The system’s 280 kilowatts of solar energy generated will be used to offset 75 percent of the recreation center and pool’s energy usage, Chen said, noting the city will also be looking for ways to be more energy efficient with lighting and heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades.

“The project will cut down on greenhouse gases and help the city achieve its Climate Action Plan goals to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2035,” Chen said.

The proposed project is anticipated to start in spring 2016 and be completed by fall.