For Immediate Release: January 28, 2010
Media Contact: Susanne Garfield - 916-654-4989


Local California Governments Receive $7.9 Million
in Loans for Energy Efficiency

Sacramento - Six California local jurisdictions will receive more than $7.9 million in low-interest federal stimulus loans to fund innovative projects to cut energy use. As part of President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), the California Energy Commission approved funding for energy projects in the cities of Ventura, Monterey, Dinuba and Fairfield, and the County of Alameda and the Portola Valley School District.

"Low-interest loans at 1 percent are one of the best ways a local government can stimulate their community's economy and help slash their energy costs for long-term benefits," said Karen Douglas, Chairman of the California Energy Commission. "These loans can help leverage the Recovery Act block grants communities are receiving and focus on the most bang for their buck - energy efficiency."

The largest loan approved will go to the City of Fairfield, which will use $3 million to upgrade more than 8,000 street lighting fixtures throughout the city. By converting from high pressure sodium fixtures to induction lamps, the city can save approximately $241,000 a year on its electricity bills and can repay the loan from its energy savings alone in 12.5 years. PG&E, the local utility, also will provide a $99,000 incentive for the project.

The city of Monterey will use its $1.5 million loan to change tunnel, bike path and street lights from high pressure sodium lights to more efficient induction ones to cut its energy bill by $121,000 annually, enough savings to repay the loan in 12.8 years. The city should also get utility rebates for the projects totaling more than $46,000.

Dinuba received a $611,000 loan to install improved motors, pumps, lighting systems and controls to improve the energy efficiency of its wastewater reclamation plant, a project that will save the Central Valley city more than $88,000 a year in energy costs.

Ventura will use a $500,000 loan to upgrade interior and exterior lights, improve the cooling system at city hall and install server cooling controls at the city data center, cutting the city's electricity bill by nearly $75,000. Both Dinuba and Ventura will save enough on their energy costs to repay the 1 percent loan in less than 7 years.

The County of Alameda will add a 250 kilowatt photovoltaic system to the roof of the Castro Valley library with the help of a $1.18 million ARRA loan. PG&E will also add approximately $520,000 in incentives to help cover the project's total cost of $2 million. The electricity generated by the solar system will reduce the county's power use by $90,600 a year, allowing the loan to be repaid from energy savings within 13 years.

The Portola Valley School District will also install rooftop photovoltaics, using a loan of nearly $1.1 million. The loan amount covers about half of the cost to install 280 kilowatts of solar power at Corte Madera and Ormondale schools, a system that will supply 68 percent of the schools' power and save the district nearly $84,000 a year in energy expenses. The remainder of the project's funding will come from a California Solar Initiative Rebate of $129,000 and money from a Qualified Schools Construction Bond.

Including the $7.9 million approved this week, the Energy Commission has already awarded local California governments more than $17.9 million in low-interest loans using Recovery Act funds.

Created by the Legislature in 1974, the California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. The Energy Commission has five major responsibilities: forecasting future energy needs and keeping historical energy data; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency through appliance and building standards; developing energy technologies and supporting renewable energy; and planning for and directing state response to energy emergency.

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