Solar panels provide energy for county building


By Bay City News Service

The San Mateo County building that houses the clerk, recorder and assessor's offices will receive one-third of its energy from solar panels, set to be installed by September.

The 1,540 solar panels are being installed on the fifth floor of the county's parking garage and will provide 517,500 kilowatt hours per year for 555 County Center in Redwood City, said Steven Tsu, president of the company K2 Solar, which is installing the panels.

He spokes at a news conference at the site of the future panels Wednesday (June 30).

San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President Mark Church proposed the idea in 2008 and the rest of the supervisors jumped on board.

"It is important for the county to demonstrate leadership in solar energy," Mr. Church said, adding that San Mateo County is one of the first counties in California to utilize solar panels.

He said the county hopes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and said the panels are an important step in reaching that goal.

He also joked to the audience, who were struggling in the gusty weather to keep hair out of their faces and papers from blowing away, that in the future the county should consider wind as an alternative source of green energy as well.

The solar panels cost about $3.2 million of which the county is paying more than half. Federal funds are providing $1.4 million for the panels, Mr. Church said.

The fifth floor to the parking garage will be closed to cars while the panels are being installed beginning July 9.

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