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Brea’s solar-power system up and running

The North O.C. city expects to save $13 million in utility costs over the next 25 years.

By Kirsti CorreaPublished: August 12, 2011

Brea officials are hopeful that the city will experience a significant reduction in electrical utility costs, due to the recent completion of its Energy Efficiency and Solar Power Project.

With the system now up and running, Brea is reputed to be the largest producer of solar energy in Orange County. The city will save an estimated $13 million over the span of 25 years, say local reps. Brea hopes to decrease its electrical utility costs by an average of 40 percent and its carbon emissions by 86,000 metric tons, the equivalent of removing 16,000 cars from the road.

Chevron Energy Solutions and city workers installed solar panels at the Brea Community Center, Brea Civic and Cultural Center, and Reservoir City Pump Yard – all of which will generate a total of 1.8 megawatts of power.

"This project positions Brea as an environmental leader in the county, and demonstrates fiscal responsibility by investing in long-term, sustainable projects that will benefit our community for decades to come," said Mayor Roy Moore.

Already for the month of June, the Brea Community Center has seen its electricity costs decrease by 65 percent. The same expense at the Civic and Cultural Center went down 35 percent.

In addition to the solar installation, Chevron worked with Brea to make upgrades throughout the city, including revamping the street lighting, and improving the current heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and energy-management-control systems. 

"The city of Brea – one of the smallest cities in the county – is now the largest producer of solar energy in Orange County," said Jim Davis, president of Chevron Energy Solutions. "It is a testament to the city's ability to put words into action by using clean, renewable power to save energy and costs."

Although Brea and Chevron officials are hoping for lower utility costs overall, the project boosted the economy by $3 million, with more than 25 local jobs and 125 indirectly related positions that it created during its construction.

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