As council members this week approved an equipment lease-purchase agreement for retrofitting city-owned streetlights and installing solar panels, it became apparent how sweet a deal this is.
A city staff report released last week indicated the city would eventually see $450,000 in annual savings after 16 years of use of the solar voltaic panels. It should save more than $6 million in 30 years. In addition, the city will have access to 1.12 megawatts of renewable energy at any given time.
And the benefits don’t stop there. Perhaps most exciting, Chevron Energy Solutions is offering a community-based energy savings program, in which local residents will learn about ways to save energy and money at home. Student interns will be paid to help guide local residents and business owners in energy savings techniques, giving them job-training skills in the process.
It may have seemed that the council took something of a risk in December when it agreed to pay $5.4 million to participate in the program, but the savings and the benefits associated with using renewable energy will more than make up for it. Not to mention that reducing the city’s environmental footprint is the right thing to do.
Moving forward, the city would be wise to seek out other private-sector partnerships that could result in potential savings. The future of Patterson will only be brighter as a result.