The SLO County Airport is continuing with efforts to be more energy efficient and save money, at various facilities.
County Airport Director Courtney Johnson asked Supervisors to approve a project to replace 123 “exterior apron” (non-runway) lights at the airport using a no-interest loan through Pacific Gas & Electric’s so-called On-Bill Financing (OBF) Program.
The project is part of the Public Works Department’s efforts to audit County facilities for efficiency and develop projects to lower utility costs that have included installing carport solar panels at places like Dairy Creek Golf Course and a 1-megawatt solar farm off Hwy 1 that will provide energy to the County Jails, new animal shelter and other County facilities along Kansas Avenue, among other projects.
The new airport terminal already has energy efficient lighting, Johnson’s report said, but the exterior lights hadn’t been changed. “County Airports and the Facilities Planning Division staff have worked with our regional LGP, the Central Coast Leaders in Energy Action Program, or CC-LEAP, and PG&E to audit the airport and develop this project.”
The CC-LEAP solicited bids and Electricraft Inc., of San Luis Obispo for the job. Electricraft’s bid was for $196,000 for both materials and labor. But the County anticipates the materials costs could rise, like everything else has been rising, and asked for $225,000 to cover potential increases.
Because of PG&E’s OBF Program, the County doesn’t need to pay upfront. “The loan period is estimated at 4.64 years and will be repaid on monthly PG&E electricity bills via energy savings achieved through implementation of the project,” Johnson said. “No change to the current automated bill payment processes will occur, and Airports will receive a monthly statement from PG&E to record the loan.”
Once the loan is paid off, the monthly electric bills will drop because of the lower usage the LED lights will consume. The new lights also have a longer lifespan and need less maintenance by airport’s maintenance crew.