New Caltrans solar projects will help economy and environment

June 12, 2009

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) plans to install $20 million in new solar energy systems at 70 of its facilities throughout the state, allowing taxpayers to avoid $52.5 million in energy costs over 25 years, the agency announced yesterday.

Instead of burning fossil fuels, panels will use the sun to produce more than 3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year in addition to eliminating 2.8 million lb of greenhouse gases—all at no cost to taxpayers.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) plans to install $20 million in new solar energy systems at 70 of its facilities throughout the state, allowing taxpayers to avoid $52.5 million in energy costs over 25 years, the agency announced yesterday.

Instead of burning fossil fuels, panels will use the sun to produce more than 3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year in addition to eliminating 2.8 million lb of greenhouse gases—all at no cost to taxpayers.

In 2006, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 32, which established a first-in-the-world program to reduce greenhouse gases.

Part of California’s Climate Action Program, Caltrans was one of the first state agencies to be certified as a “Climate Action Leader” by the California Climate Action Registry.

“This project is a great example of how to use innovative financing to green state government, make it more cost-effective for taxpayers and bolster businesses and jobs in a vital sector of our economy,” said State Treasurer Bill Lockyer.

The Caltrans solar projects are being financed through the sale of Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREB), which will be paid back in annual payments over 15 years.

Congress approved the CREB program in 2005 to encourage energy conservation, develop energy infrastructure and increase the use of alternative energy sources.