North Coast Health Center Completes Largest Commercial Solar Installation in Encinitas

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Borrego Solar built and developed the 256 kilowatt project, which will provide 75 percent of facility’s common energy needs and save $3.5 million in energy costs over the life of the system

North Coast Health Center’s 265 kilowatt (kW) roof-top installation is now operational, providing more than 452,000 kilowatt hours of energy annually to the facility. The installation will provide 75 percent of the facility’s common energy needs and save North Coast $3.5 million in energy costs over the life of the system.

North Coast is the largest outpatient health center in North County San Diego. It is owned and operated by AmeriCare Medical Properties and is home to a variety of health care providers including, Scripps Coastal Medical Group, Imaging Healthcare Specialists, UC San Diego, and The Center for Surgery of Encinitas. AmeriCare utilized a capital lease structure to pay for a portion of the installation.

“We’ve seen energy costs continue to rise faster than general inflation," said Greg Petree, President of AmeriCare Medical Properties. "As a long-time operator of medical office buildings, we are always looking for ways to better manage expenses. With more than 260 days of sun in Encinitas and our 10,000 square feet of roof space, the decision to go solar made strong economic sense.”

AmeriCare has invested nearly $1,000,000 in energy efficiency programs over the last two years, including its solar array, in part to upgrade the building to today's Class A medical standards. Those upgrades include:

  • Reflective cool roofs,
  • LED building & tenant light replacement,
  • LED parking lot light upgrade,
  • Variable Frequency Drives in our cooling yards, and
  • Campus-wide modern window tinting.

Based on EPA estimates, this new 265 kW system will offset the environmental equivalent of removing 36,000 gallons of gasoline consumed annually or 338,000 lbs. of coal burned annually.

As the largest commercial roof-top solar project in the Encinitas area, North Coast is leading the way for renewable energy adoption by other local businesses. “We are beginning to work in partnership with the City of Encinitas in an effort to further espouse the numerous advantages of installing solar to other local commercial property owners,” said Petree. “Less than one percent of commercial buildings in Encinitas currently have solar generating capacity installed. Our hope is that this recently completed project will encourage other commercial owners to follow suit.”

Based on recent industry and market developments, businesses will continue to adopt solar at increasing rates.

"Solar has continued to become increasingly cost effective for businesses like North Coast thanks in a large part to three main drivers,” said Audrey Copeland, Borrego Solar project developer. “The first is reduction in cost to install solar due to advancements in technology and the simple fact that the industry has matured. The second is California’s solar-friendly programs, including net energy metering, which regulators and utilities have enacted to make solar more cost competitive with conventional power options. And lastly, the availability and variety of financing options, like leases, have opened up solar to a greater range of customers who can now go solar with little to no capital expenditure up front."

Borrego Solar Systems, a San Diego-based developer and installer of commercial solar energy systems, built and developed the solar array. The company has installed more than 70 megawatts (MW) in California and nearly 285 MW nationwide.

About AmeriCare Medical Properties

Americare Medical Properties is a division of AmeriCare Health & Retirement, Inc., a privately held healthcare management company based in San Diego, CA. The Company was formed in 1984 and focuses on the acquisition, development and ownership of healthcare real estate in the Southern California geographic area. In particular, retirement communities and medical office buildings. For more information, visit http://www.americaremedicalproperties.com.

About Borrego Solar Systems

Established in 1980, Borrego Solar Systems Inc. is one of the leading designers, developers, installers and O&M providers of commercial and utility photovoltaic (PV) solar power systems in the United States with more than 290 megawatts (MW) of installations in operation and nearly 100 MW currently under construction. Borrego Solar is a market leader nationally in addition to having the largest market share in Massachusetts and New York. With more than three decades of experience, Borrego Solar’s PV systems are efficient, reliable and cost-effective. The company’s mission is to solve the world's energy problems by accelerating the adoption of renewable energy. Its people are committed to excellence in every aspect of solar design, construction and operation. For more information, visit http://www.borregosolar.com.

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Alessandra Angelone