Grass Valley’s solar array project delayed |

Grass Valley’s solar array project delayed

Dave Brooksher
Staff Writer

Back in January, the Grass Valley city council voted to move forward with a proposal to retrofit municipal facilities with green-energy upgrades. The $3.5 million proposal from Chevron Energy Solutions included a 700-KW solar array at the lift station on Slate Creek Road, as well as smaller solar sites at the water treatment plant on Alta Vista Avenue and the pool at Memorial Park.

Chevron hoped to complete the program-development portion of the project by April, start with implementation last month and complete the project by the end of 2014. But that time line may have been overly optimistic.

"We got set back a little bit from a contract standpoint over verbiage," said Tim Kiser, director of public works.

Chevron says the project will be able to pay for its own 20-year lease using funds left over by the energy savings. After that lease is paid off, the city expects to save $400,000 a year for the remaining life of the equipment, which is estimated to be approximately 10 years.

"It's one of those things where it looks too good to be true," Mayor Dan Miller said back in January. "But if the savings are there and the benefits to the city are what we're looking at, we'd be stupid not to do this."

"We're still moving forward, doing engineering analysis and fees analysis," Kiser said. "We're hoping to have a complete report mid-August. That would be the point at which council decides whether or not to proceed."

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Kiser said that the city's next step is to run the numbers and find out whether or not the project "pencils out" financially in terms of paying off the cost of the solar equipment. The project also includes energy efficient lighting and HVAC systems for municipal facilities, including City Hall.

To contact staff writer Dave Brooksher, send emails to or call 530-477-4230.

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