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Coconino County Begins Renewable Solar Energy Initiative

Kyle Ritland

October 2014


Coconino County is set to save an estimated $2.3 million over 25 years with a clean solar energy system installed by Chandler-based Sun Valley Solar Solutions.

Part of a concerted effort to diversify its energy portfolio and save taxpayer dollars, Coconino County installed solar panels at four Flagstaff facilities. The multi-phase project was completed in 2015.

Capture3.jpgSince then, Coconino County has been harnessing the power of 264 sunny days in Flagstaff to offset electricity costs at the County Health and Community Services building, the City of Flagstaff/Sheriff’s Office Law Enforcement Administrative Facility (LEAF), the County Jail, and Juvenile Services buildings.

“The four sites selected for the solar projects account for more than 60 percent of the County’s total electricity consumption,” County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Mandy Metzger said. “We have a long-term perspective on managing our energy portfolio: we’ve become more energy efficient, but the cost of what we do use will continue to increase as rates keep going up.”

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“By purchasing this renewable resource at a set rate over the next 25 years, we are diversifying our energy sources, paying a lower cost over the long term and truly acting as stewards of our county’s future,” Supervisor Metzger added.

The County is leasing the solar space in parking areas and on roofs in return for the energy produced at a lower set rate over the next 25 years.

“Coconino County leadership has Capture5.jpgdemonstrated impressive fiscal and environmental stewardship with their sustainability initiative, and we’re extremely proud to be selected as their preferred solar partner for such an important program,” said Russ Patzer, CEO at Sun Valley Solar Solutions.

The solar projects continue the County’s efforts to increase energy efficiency and explore alternate sources of energy at multiple facilities. County Facilities Management fine-tuned and upgraded climate control systems to ensure they are running as efficiently as possible, have worked to properly seal windows and doors and have tracked and corrected fluctuations in equipment operations to increase efficiency and reduce energy consumption in the county’s buildings.

“These projects are vital to saving tax dollars and are great examples of pairing rural resourcefulness with new opportunities to become more efficient for the future to come,” Supervisor Metzger said.

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