Historic Landmark Gains 100 kW Solar PV System

Today the city of Oakland, California kicks of a ceremony and tour of their new 100 kW solar electric system installed on the 1927 landmark building, the Oakland Scottish Rite Center (OSR) located on the shores of Lake Merritt.

The project was formally interconnected into PG&E’s electric utility grid last week and is now the largest photovoltaic (PV) project in the city, according to the project’s installers, Sun Power and Geothermal Energy. The decision by the OSR Board of Directors in favor of moving forward with the installation of the roof-mounted solar PV array was due to solar being the practical and environmentally sound solution for a busy organization with mounting electricity costs. The OSR building is used as a gathering place for the Masonic Fraternity, but also as a venue for wedding receptions, proms, concerts, plays, business meetings, etc. The photovoltaic array, which is mounted on the roof at a south-facing, 20 degree tilt angle is expected to offset $30,000-$37,000 per year in avoided electric costs. Through net-metering, the system will produce surplus energy on sunny days, which will spin the building’s electric meter backwards, selling this power to PG&E at retail rates, and generating a credit on the OSR’s monthly electric bill. The credits obtained for solar generated electricity will then be used up by the facility during nighttime & poor weather days. The solar system had a total cost of approximately $800,000, half of which was paid for by a rebate offered by PG&E’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). The 100 kW solar electric system will also help the state of California to reach its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goal of obtaining 20 percent of power from renewable energy sources by the year 2017. Sun Power & Geothermal Energy Co., Inc. will be servicing/monitoring the solar system remotely though its proprietary SunSpot software and hardware system. Along with weather station reporting, real-time electrical production will be posted live every 15 minutes to a website and to an interactive kiosk in the facility’s lobby. The software monitoring program will also store and chart daily, monthly, and annual kWh production in order to ensure the solar system is producing as expected.
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