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Fairfield Continues to Innovate in Tough Times

Editorial on the ways that the City of Fairfield is utilizing programs to help move the city forward.

City of Fairfield press release

Fairfield is celebrating the news that its downtown theater is being revived through an innovative private/public partnership. Local and regional performers will once again entertain, educate, and engage the community in the fine arts.

While the City’s economic development and community resources staffs were busy working with the representative of the forming Downtown Theater Foundation for the Arts, the Public Works Department was exploring other ways, using rebate and incentive programs to implement green technology, to save the City money.

On August 21, the same night the Fairfield City Council approved the theater agreement, authorization was given to Public Works to execute an energy power purchase agreement that will affect the City’s cost of energy for the North Bay Regional Water Treatment Plant (NBR), which is jointly operated with the City of Vacaville. The cities have carved out seven acres on the NBR site, located on Peabody Road between Vacaville and Fairfield, for the construction of a 1- megawatt solar power array.

The array will be constructed and owned by an experienced solar power developer, and NBR will be its only customer purchasing all the output.  “This configuration – having a solar company build, own, maintain the array, and provide the electrical power to NBR – just makes sense. The City is not interested in getting into the solar business, but we are very interested in planning ahead and fixing the price of power to run our plant,” stated Assistant Public Works Director Felix Riesenberg.

“PG&E’s price for electricity to the City is forecasted to increase steadily over the next 20 years, and we anticipate saving between $1 and $3 million over that time using solar power.”

The City is also expecting to enjoy energy credit from PG&E when the array produces more electricity than NBR needs to operate. As the market for Renewable Energy Certificates (REC), which are tradable commodities that can be sold for cash or other benefits, continues to evolve, the City will also look to generate revenue using the RECs.

These are but two examples of how Fairfield continues to look for innovative and creative ways to reduce its expenditures and generate revenue to support the services its community relies on.

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