Plan calls for solar canopies

Huntington Beach is in the process of issuing permits to begin the installation of solar panels at three city facilities.

The installations are set to take place in the parking lots of the city's Civic Center, Central Library and city yard.

"It's a great project," said Aaron Klemm, the city's energy project manager.

In October, the city entered into an agreement with SunEdison to install the systems. The solar canopies will resemble carports and provide shaded parking lots at the facilities, Klemm said.

But the shade is just a bonus.

The solar systems will provide the city with clean energy and more than $1.55 million in savings over the next 20 years, according to the October staff report.

The power purchase agreement the city entered into will not require it to pay for the system. Instead, Huntington Beach will only pay for the power the system generates, Klemm said. After 20 years, the city has the option to extend the agreement, buy the system at market value, or terminate the agreement, he said.

An open house was scheduled Tuesday for the public to learn more about the project.

"We realize people are busy and they don't have time to attend public meetings," Klemm said before the open house. "We're trying to make it convenient to make sure everybody is aware of what we're doing."

The system will generate enough energy to cover 40% to 70% of the power needed for the three facilities, he said.

The city will continue to supplement the rest of the power from the Southern California Edison power grid, Klemm said.

The installation of the solar canopies is expected to be completed this year, he said.

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