The Situation

A city government provides many services including education, public safety, administration, and sanitation. While those services each have unique resource demands, they all have one need in common – energy. Rising energy costs often create a challenge for city governments on a budget.

Woodland, CA decided to control its long-term energy costs by powering a variety of its buildings with on-site solar energy. The challenge was doing so in a way that did not impede normal city operations or reduce the level of service to its citizens.

After a competitive RFP process, the City of Woodland awarded a 2.46MW portfolio of solar projects to Austin-based PCI Solar. Woodland chose PCI Solar due to its experience building solar projects for local governments in New Jersey, Texas and Arizona. Each of these was completed on-time, on-budget and with zero safety incidents.

The Solution

PCI Solar began with careful consultation with city leaders and officials at the sites chosen for solar. The project included construction of six separate systems:

  • Woodland’s City Hall
  • Woodland Community Center
  • Woodland Public Library
  • Woodland Police Department
  • Woodland Water Pollution Control Facility

Installations included carports, rooftops, shade canopies, and ground-mount installations. At each site, solar had to allow operations to continue as normal, and visually and structurally complement the site.

In total, approximately PCI Solar installed 1.1MW of ground-mounted PV arrays and 1.3MW of carport and rooftop arrays for the city.

PCI Solar built the systems with Hanwha Q-CELLS panels, and Solectria and SolarEdge inverters. This technology included cost-saving innovations such as aluminum conductors and localized step-up transformers. These helped to optimize energy savings, translating to cost savings.

The project had unique challenges at several of the sites. First, the ground mount site at the City’s Water Pollution Control Facility was located in a flood plain. To overcome this challenge, PCI mounted panels nine feet clear of the existing grade. The Community Center’s carport system needed a long interconnection run. PCI Solar reduced power loss from the run by using a localized step-up transformer.

At the Police Station, the design accounted for a radio tower, integral for police communication. To reduce the shading issues caused by the tower, PCI Solar used SolarEdge inverters.

The Success

Woodland's solar project allowed the city to save on energy costs and continue providing important services to residents.

The Woodland project expands PCI Solar's municipal solar portfolio. The team's previous municipal solar projects span the country, including:

  • 400kw project for Passaic Valley School District in New Jersey
  • 1MW+ portfolio for Alamo Heights Independent School District in San Antonio, TX
  • 400kw ground mount project for the City of Bisbee, Arizona’s wastewater treatment plant

Contact PCI Solar today to learn how solar can help you.

PCI Solar was very responsive from design through system startup. PCI understood our priorities, adjusted to unexpected circumstances, and maintained excellent communication with city staff. The PCI Solar personnel were the most capable, responsive team I have dealt with in my 25 years of professional work involving construction projects.

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