Inspired by the growing number of California cities and counties that have successfully embraced solar power, the City of Chico decided to deploy clean, reliable on-site solar photovoltaics (PV) on City properties. The City installed multiple solar generation systems throughout Chico. First, the City installed a unique solar electric carport which makes use of an unused asset - an existing parking lot in downtown Chico. Next, the City completed installation of a 1,107 kilowatt (kW) power tracking system at its Water Pollution Control Plant, making Chico one of the largest municipal users of solar generated power. Chico's new solar arrays harness sunlight to generate emissions-free electricity, as well as stabilize the municipality's utility bills.
The City of Chico views its solar generation systems as a way of reducing demand for energy from the utility grid, lowering the City's operating costs and improving air quality for its citizens. By generating solar power, Chico is effectively reducing its purchases of peak electricity and doing its part to address California's ongoing energy challenges. The grid-connected systems reduce the City's electrical load, especially during peak demand times when the utility grid is the most strained and electricity is most expensive.
Chico's solar power systems spare the environment from tons of harmful emissions including nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide, all of which are major contributors to smog, acid rain and global warming. Over the 30-year lifetime of the PV systems, the combined solar generated electricity will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 19,300 tons. These emission reductions are equivalent to planting 5,500 acres of trees, removing almost 3,900 cars or not driving 49 million miles on Chico's roadways.
The City of Chico's solar power system investments allowed for a partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their Green Power Partnership. In November 2006, the City was awarded membership to the Green Power Leadership Club by meeting the purchase requirements and by demonstrating exemplary environmental leadership. The Green Power Leadership Club's purchase requirements are roughly four times the purchase requirements for the Green Power Partnership. For more information on the EPA Green Power Partnership, please click on the logo below.