A light touch at Earl Warren Showgrounds may save most of its power bill for the year.
September marks the first month of full operation of 8,000 solar panels on the barns of the Earl Warren Showgrounds. Installation of the 3- by 2-foot panels on the 16 barns cost about $1.8 million, according to Earl Warren Showgrounds. Scott Grieve, CEO of the showgrounds, said only $20,000 of the $120,000 annual electricity bill would have to be paid.
At peak efficiency, the solar panels generate enough electricity to power 175 homes. Variable factors affect the efficiency of the solar panels, including temperature and cloud coverage. During the day, any surplus generated is sold to Edison. For any nighttime events, the showgrounds buys back electricity.
“We are building up a bank account during the day and withdrawing at night,” Grieve said.
So far, the only maintenance issue with the solar panels is keeping them clean from dust kicked up by the horses the barns hold.
At present, there are no plans for more solar panels.
“So far, it’s been a great project to work on,” Grieve said. “With the recent blackout of New York, it’s nice to know that if the lights ever go out, we will still be on.”