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The City of Simi Valley has a long history of prioritizing conservation initiatives that enhance energy savings programs for its facilities. With a long legacy of energy improvements, the City partnered with ENGIE Services U.S. (ENGIE) in 2014 to add 2.2 megawatts of renewable energy capacity to its energy profile. This program, completed in September 2017, is another demonstration of Simi Valley’s energy efficiency leadership and conservative fiscal planning. Previous recognition for Simi Valley’s leadership in sustainability includes Beacon Spotlight Awards in 2012 and 2013, Silver Tier recognition in the Energy Leader Partnership (ELP), and LEED Gold certification for the Transit Facility.
Despite all this great momentum, prior to the partnership with ENGIE, Simi Valley was still facing rising energy costs. The many successful, stand-alone environmental initiatives the community had championed over the years still needed a formal strategy to address its energy challenges. In partnership with ENGIE, the City developed a strategic energy program that is coupled with a meaningful sustainability program called Simi Valley Conserves to further promote energy conservation amongst residents.
In March of 2016, the Simi Valley City Council approved an agreement with ENGIE to install solar power at vital City service centers across the community. A total of 2.2 MW of solar is projected to generate the equivalent to enough energy annually to power 282 homes. As part of program development, ENGIE conducted an energy analysis which provided insight into the solar production potential at all City sites, identifying the ideal locations for the PV modules. Solar shade parking canopies installed at several City locations provide shaded daytime parking for more than 165 cars. ENGIE managed all facets of solar sizing, design, and construction.
Nearly 90 percent of the energy program was financed through more than $9.2 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREB) with a tax-exempt lease purchase (TELP) covering the difference. The City worked swiftly to capture limited and dwindling funds from incentive programs, cashed in on low interest rates, and wasted less money maintaining outdated infrastructure to achieve more immediate savings. The installed solar power will cover one-third of the City’s energy use.
Simi Valley Conserves:
Bringing Energy Education and Savings to Simi Valley
The partnership between Simi Valley and ENGIE encompassed an energy conservation awareness program called Simi Valley Conserves to help residents and business owners reduce their energy use by providing free energy consultations. The collaboration helped build workforce capacity in clean tech and energy by training and hiring Simi Valley Unified School District students as Energy Ambassadors as part of a paid internship program. A total of 15 Simi Valley senior high school students worked alongside energy experts to perform home energy consultations, which can reduce a household’s energy usage by an average of ten percent per year, freeing up disposable income for local economic stimulation. Energy Ambassadors gained valuable work experience in a STEM field, received an introduction to energy conservation, and had opportunities to engage with their local community through a variety of community outreach efforts including attending a City Green Expo and speaking at community events and civic meetings.
3 Dimensions of Impact
ENGIE is committed to building three dimensions of impact in every customer’s future:
- Supporting People
- Saving Money
- Protecting the Environment
Through a successful, united partnership, the City of Simi Valley and ENGIE achieved an advantageous program that will have long-term positive environmental, economic and human impact in the community. The City is proud of the $15 million in net savings, as well as the successful student internship program and their new solar systems.