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The energy program sparks discussion

The Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District may initiate a district-wide efficiency program to begin using more renewable energy.

The district hired SitelogIQ Inc. to conduct an audit of district facilities and parks in order to develop the program. The district hopes to reduce utility costs, modernize energy systems and reduce deferred maintenance.

Additional exterior LED lighting would also help increase public safety, staff said.

The scope of work includes the construction of a battery energy storage system at the City Hall, several charging points for electric vehicles and the construction of a photovoltaic shelter over the City Hall parking lot. The company would also replace all HVAC systems in the community center, senior center and main office with gas and electric equipment.

Freedom Park and Pleasant Valley Fields will also receive a solar canopy structure over the parking lot and two dual-port electric vehicle charging stations.

The energy generated in the district and fed into the electric grid is obtained through credit through Southern California Edison.

“There is an obligation for our future vehicle purchases to be electrified. This is a real issue that we will have to deal with,” said Chairman Mark Malloy. “When you buy something that’s electrified, you have to be able to plug it in somewhere.”

If approved, the district would enter into a 20-year lease with SitelogIQ Inc.

Taking into account an interest rate of approximately 4.80%, the total purchase cost will be approximately $5.1 million.

Over the 30 years of the program, the district is expected to save approximately $6.6 million, with net savings of approximately $1.4 million.

“In addition to avoiding utility costs, you save on utility bills, provide shaded parking and electric vehicle chargers,” said Josh Steeber of SitelogIQ. “You generate energy from the sun, you generate electrons from the sky, and you offset what you would normally buy from the utility company.”

Steeber believes that in the event of a grid failure, the batteries will be able to provide power for about two days until a backup generator is needed. The amount of time depends on the available sunlight and how often it is used.

“The real challenge is that batteries are still expensive, so we can’t just install a whole battery farm,” Steeber said.

Malloy said his problem with the program is that it seems more like an investment that the district won’t get much out of.

Regardless, the district unanimously requested approval of the project scope and continued staff collaboration with SitelogIQ Inc. A public hearing on the energy program is scheduled for June 5.