By Jeff Ramos for the Elk Grove Citizen - December 7, 2016
The Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) provides fire and emergency medical services for the cities of Elk Grove and Galt and unincorporated areas of south Sacramento County, provides park and recreation services for Elk Grove, and operates 94 parks, seven recreation centers, two aquatics facilities, one golf course, and eight fire stations.
This summer, I decided to pursue ways to make both our infrastructure and facilities more efficient with the help of a local partner, OpTerra Energy Services. As we look forward to kicking off our program in December, I am excited to share the benefits of the upcoming program with the residents we serve.
Through a combined solar and energy efficiency program across 19 sites, we will be lowering electricity spending and generating clean, renewable power to District facilities. With this upcoming 1.09 MW solar and energy efficiency program focused on interior/exterior LEDs, the District will be able to use the savings generated from the program to expand and enhance our services. Over the life of this program, we expect to generate $2 million in net savings that directly benefit our community.
One project in particular that I would like to highlight is the installation of solar parking canopies within the south parking lot at the Wackford Community and Aquatic Complex. This project will allow our visitors to the Complex the ability to park under shade canopies during their visit. However, in order to install solar arrays, many shade trees will need to be removed.
To offset this loss, we will be performing a replanting ceremony of 50 trees along the jogging path in Elk Grove Regional Park in the new year. These new trees will provide shade and pleasing aesthetics to an undeveloped area of the park. We feel that the long-term economic and environmental benefits of the program outweigh the temporary loss of the trees at the Wackford Complex site.
Overall program benefits will include:
• Generating long-term stream of annual savings associated with energy upgrades
• Enabling the District to address deferred maintenance and ongoing modernization work at no extra financial burden to taxpayers
• Creating local jobs
• Providing sustainability education to CSD youth programs
The District is looking forward to the positive economic, environmental, and community benefits for the over 183,000 citizens residing in the District’s service area. We’re committed to providing environmentally and fiscally responsible energy operations that benefit our residents and the District as a whole. We look forward to advancing our energy operations and embarking on this program with you, the valued residents of our diverse community.
The program is currently in the construction phase and the solar panels are planned to go online late spring 2017. A groundbreaking ceremony is planned for December 7 at 4 p.m. at the Wackford Community and Aquatic Complex.