Renewable Energy Projects

The County of San Luis Obispo recently joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership. The County is using nearly 5 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which is enough green power to meet 19 percent of the organization's electricity use.

By choosing green power, the County is helping advance the voluntary market for green power and development of those sources.

Visit our EPA Green Power Partners Dashboard for more information!

County Operations Center Solar Farm

The County Operations Center (COC) ground-mounted solar system is the largest to date sized at 1.2 megawatts-DC and with 3,294 solar modules on 6 acres of land. This project was approved by the Board of Supervisors on May 21st, 2019.

The COC solar project is composed of twelve facilities, including the Main & Women’s Jail, Juvenile Services Center, Honor Farm, and other Sheriff, Public Works, Information Services, and Fleet facilities. This project now supplements power at these facilities yielding an estimated $6 million in electricity savings over the next 20 years. The Environmental Division of Public Works designed, installed, and will be maintaining the vegetative screening paralleling Highway 1 for the next ten years. The plant palette is a mix of native trees and shrubs that were designed to complement the natural surroundings and soften any remaining views of the solar installation from Highway 1.

COC Ribbon CuttingRibbon Cutting

Plant Screening

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Link to Press Release

2021 Environment and Energy Award Top Project

The COC solar project won a 2021 Environment + Energy Leader Top Project award! The Environment and Energy Leader Awards Program works with unaffiliated judges to score entries and choose top projects and products across a variety of industries. These are selected based on their success providing significant sustainability and energy management results. To learn more about the other winning products and projects check out the comprehensive e-book

Dairy Creek Solar Carport

The Dairy Creek Golf Course solar carport canopy project was one of the County’s first solar projects. This project, along with the Department of Social Services solar carport canopy project, was approved by the Board of Supervisors on June 21, 2018.

The system size of 226 kW will generate 90% of the energy used at the El Chorro Regional Park and the Dairy Creek Golf Course. It is estimated to save over $600,000 in electricity costs over 20 years. The canopies are actually four feet higher than traditional solar carports. This was a special request to accommodate recreational vehicles in the parking lot. Next time you head to Dairy Creek Golf Course, you’ll be sure to notice these unique solar carports.



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Link to press release

Department of Social Services Carport

The Department of Social Services carport canopy solar project was implemented at the same time as the Dairy Creek project, and serves as one of the first solar projects in the County’s portfolio.

The 326 kW system will offset 90% of the energy used on site and is expected to save over $600,000 in electricity costs over 20 years. The canopies also provide shaded parking and LED lighting for staff who work at the facility. Next time you are in the area, check out the solar panels!


Link to BOS item 

Link to press release

How does Solar Power Work?

Solar power is a common type of renewable energy. Solar power is generated in more steps than people might think. Energy from the sun is first captured by the panels and then fed into an inverter.

An inverter is an electrical device that converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). This AC can now be used at any appropriate transformers, switches, and control circuits. The energy then goes to your home or a facility and is read by an electric meter. If there is more solar energy captured than the needs of the facility, the difference is sold back to the grid. In the grid, electricity is generated by the movement of a loop of wire between the poles of a magnet.