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Proposal approved for solar energy at large Carlsbad park

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The Carlsbad City Council voted on Tuesday to award a contract to install a solar photovoltaic energy system at the 32-acre Alga Norte Community Park.

Expected to cost $975,000 to install and generate about 360,000 kilowatts of energy a year, the photovoltaic project will be completed by Vista-based Independent Energy Solutions. The system will include 720 solar photovoltaic modules, enough to meet the majority of the park’s energy demand, the city said in a release.

Alga Norte Community Park includes a two-pool aquatic center with a warm water spa, fitness room and concession stand, a lighted skate park, a lighted basketball court and three lighted multipurpose ballgame playing fields with a snack bar.

The city of Carlsbad said it will use a rebate available through the state of California to offset 26 percent of the project cost, or nearly $255,000. The solar panels will be mounted on shade structures in Alga Norte’s parking lot.

“From the moment the City of Carlsbad began to design Alga Norte Community Park, we emphasized incorporating technology and features that will protect the environment and conserve energy,” Carlsbad Parks & Recreation Department Director Chris Hazeltine said. He added that the city's plan is to achieve full cost recovery at the park.

The city estimates a project payoff after 11 years, with $66,000 in energy costs averted each year.

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