Public Sector


King City, California

King City

The Opportunity

King City is a strong agricultural community of more than 13,000 residents, located in Monterey County, California, on the Salinas River. From strong roots to the land and commitment to building stronger services for residents, City leaders began assessing new ways to save money and reduce facilities' environmental impact. In 2013, City staff and leadership began consulting with OpTerra Energy Services to map out energy program possibilities, goals, and next steps. OpTerra worked with the City Council to co-develop a customized project scope based on King City's resource needs, and coupled the plan with a strong financing plan to ensure the project could be enacted quickly with no financial burden to taxpayers.

The Partnership

In summer of 2016, OpTerra will install a total of 546 kilowatts of solar PV power at the King City Pool and the Wastewater Treatment Plant. At the Pool, a solar array will be mounted on part of the main building roof structure, with an additional solar shade structure to be constructed over an open grass area to provide needed shade and respite from the hot summer sun for community pool-goers. Additionally, high efficiency LED lighting will be attached to the underside of the PV canopy at the Pool. Four ground-mounted solar arrays at the Wastewater Treatment Plant are slated for installation on open areas, which will provide electricity to power the plant on site, creating a vital opportunity for self-generation that immediately reduces the City's costs to power the plant full-time. Also included in OpTerra's program, OpTerra will provide ongoing, preventative maintenance and repair services, including regular inspection, testing, monitoring, and cleaning of the PV modules, which will ensure maximum energy production and efficiency of the systems.

Another key component of the program scope is retrofitting the existing, City-owned streetlights to LED fixtures to improve efficiency and reduce maintenance costs. OpTerra will retrofit 132 existing City-owned streetlights with both decorative and cobrahead fixtures. Energy-efficient LED technology will help provide whiter and brighter light throughout the City.

OpTerra helped the City explore many different solutions to fund this comprehensive project before finding the best-fit package that met the City's needs. As a result of comparing multiple funding streams, the project required no capital outlay and the City is taking advantage of a tax-exempt lease purchase at a favorable interest rate. The City will capture more than $7,000 in lighting incentives in addition to a substantial reduction in energy costs

The Impact

By entering into this partnership with OpTerra, King City is exemplifying economic and environmental leadership. For a city of its size, King City is truly setting new standards for how a small community can still make big waves in the sustainability landscape. By prioritizing fiscal responsibility, the City will capture more than $5.5 million in net savings over the 30-year life of the energy program. As a result of the City opting in to receive a monitoring and verification services guarantee, OpTerra promises to manage the systems to produce a specified amount each year or the City will receive a check for the difference. Over the program lifetime, the City will avoid using over 18,000,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity.

By converting City-owned streetlight fixtures to LED, citizens will benefit from brighter, more evenly distributed light than the conventional HPS and induction fixtures, while using less energy. Community members can look forward to additional positive benefits from the upgraded streetlights including improved nighttime visibility on City streets. By producing clean, renewable energy from solar power, the City will effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. On July 19th, 2016, the City and OpTerra held a groundbreaking event, to celebrate a more sustainable, brighter future with a reduced carbon footprint for King City.

The Technical Scope

  • Will install a total of 546 kW of solar PV power on six arrays across two City sites:
    - 476 kW on four ground-mounted arrays at the Wastewater Treatment Plant
    - 70 kW on a roof-mounted and solar shade structure at the King City Pool
  • Will retrofit 132 existing high pressure sodium (HPS) and induction City-owned streetlights to high efficiency LED across the City:
    - 47 decorative lights
    - 85 cobrahead lights
King City
Ground-mount solar photovoltaic system installed at the Wastewater Treatment Plant in the City of Gonzales, representative of the system in progress in King City.