Fair saves significantly in first month of solar productionSubmitted Article
The Cochise County Fair Association paid 71 percent less for the electricity it used in January 2012 as compared to January 2011, thanks to a solar array installed on two 4-H buildings in October and November.
The fair’s bill for one of its four meters – the one that sees activity throughout the year because of its location on the midway – was more than $500 lower in January 2012 than in January 2011. The savings exceeds the anticipated cost reduction of 20 percent.
“We’re thrilled about the cost savings and that we have been able to take advantage of new technologies in order to cut costs,” Cochise County Fairgrounds Manager Karen Strongin said. “Plus, on days when we are generating more energy than we can use, we are feeding that energy back into the APS grid to provide electricity to the community.”
While it’s too soon to tell if the January savings will remain consistent throughout the year, the solar installation is expected to produce 81 percent of the electricity for that particular meter, which will have its highest usage in September, the month of the fair.
APS authorized the system to begin producing energy on January 5, after the fair worked with Single Source Renewables on installation. The array is a 34.65-kilowatt solar photovoltaic generating facility that consists of 154 Jetion Science and Technology 225-watt modules and seven Solar Edge 5-kilowatt inverters. It is expected to produce 61,536 kilowatts annually.
The fair is receiving $40,000 in rebates from APS and a $43,000 grant from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, with the rest of the $143,000 cost financed with a 10-year lease.
The fair association is looking forward to reviewing the results of energy and cost savings for an entire year, Strongin said. The system allows the association to build energy credits throughout the year that it hopes will reduce significantly the association’s highest electric bill for September, the month of the fair. Tentatively, visitors to the 2012 fair, scheduled for Sept. 27-30, can expect to see a demonstration of the solar system’s capabilities and output.
Earlier in 2011, the fair invested in a project to retrofit aging light fixtures in numerous buildings as another way to save energy.