Dinuba and five other California jurisdictions will receive more than $7.9 million in low-interest federal stimulus loans to pay for energy efficiency projects, state officials said Tuesday. The California Energy Commission also approved loans for the cities of Ventura, Monterey and Fairfield, the County of Alameda and the Portola Valley School District. "Low-interest loans at 1 percent are one of the best ways a local government can stimulate their community's economy and help slash their energy costs for long-term benefits," said Karen Douglas, chairman of the California Energy Commission, in a statement. She said the loans can help leverage Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant money, enabling jurisdictions to get "the most bang for their buck."
- Dinuba received a $611,000 loan to install energy-efficient motors, pumps, lighting systems and controls to improve the efficiency of its wastewater reclamation plant, a project that will save the Central San Joaquin Valley city more than $88,000 a year in energy costs, CEC officials said. It will save enough money to repay the loan in seven years.
- The largest loan will go to Fairfield, which will use $3 million to upgrade more than 8,000 street lighting fixtures throughout the city. The conversion is expected to save the city about $241,000 a year on its electricity bills, and it can repay the loan from its energy savings alone in 12.5 years. PG&E, its utility, also will provide a $99,000 incentive for the project.
- Monterey will use its $1.5 million loan to change tunnel, bike path and street lights from high pressure sodium lights to more efficient induction lights to cut its energy bill by $121,000 annually.
- Ventura will use a $500,000 loan to upgrade interior and exterior lights, improve the cooling system at city hall and install server cooling controls at the city data center, cutting the city's electricity bill by nearly $75,000.
- The County of Alameda will add a 250 kilowatt photovoltaic system to the roof of the Castro Valley library with the help of a $1.18 million ARRA loan. PG&E will add about $520,000 in incentives to help cover the project's $2 million cost. The electricity generated by the solar system will reduce the county's power use by $90,600 a year, allowing the loan to be repaid from energy savings within 13 years.
- The Portola Valley School District will also install rooftop photovoltaics, using a loan of nearly $1.1 million. The loan amount covers about half of the cost to install 280 kilowatts of solar power at Corte Madera and Ormondale schools, a system that will supply 68 percent
of the schools' power and save the district nearly $84,000 a year in energy expenses. The remainder of the project's funding will come from a California Solar Initiative Rebate of $129,000 and money from a Qualified Schools Construction Bond.
Photo: Dinuba Vocational Center courtesy City of Dinuba.