Salinas Celebrates Major Savings From Citywide Energy Program


The City of Salinas, Calif., has dedicated a new 2 MW solar farm – a big milestone in the implementation of the city’s ongoing energy program with partner OpTerra Energy Services.

Since its inception in 2014, the comprehensive energy program has been focused on using energy as a platform to revitalize neighborhoods, build regional collaboration and reduce the city’s impact on the environment. As a result of solar, energy efficiency, and other energy-conservation technology upgrades across the city, such as streetlight retrofits, Salinas expects to save $22 million in energy and maintenance costs over the span of the 25-year life of the program.

With its focus on reducing financial pressure on its general fund, the city has been able to redirect energy savings to increase funding for vital, ongoing community services like safety and education outreach. In addition to saving more than $1 million on utility expenses in the first year of the program, new sources of revenue have become available as a result of the city’s new renewable energy generation.

At the dedication ceremony for the solar project, which is located adjacent to the city’s animal services center, OpTerra CEO John Mahoney congratulated local leaders for all their success to date.

“The OpTerra team applauds the city of Salinas for demonstrating how a public agency like a city can leverage the potential of a public-private partnership with a company like OpTerra to lead the way on sustainability, fiscal responsibility, asset management and energy performance,” said Mahoney. “Their early successes are already proving the long-term impact of using energy as a foundation for progress.”

Mayor Joe Gunter celebrated the impact of this far-reaching project with attendees at the dedication event, as well.

“Through our energy program with OpTerra, the City of Salinas is accomplishing critical, long-held goals, most notably saving millions of public dollars that can be reinvested into boosting public safety services and strengthening the local economy,” said Gunter.

Photo: An aerial shot of Salinas’ new 2 MW solar farm.

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