PV on City Facilities

See how the City of Palo Alto is using Solar Power on City-Owned Sites

The City of Palo Alto has five sites using clean renewable solar energy to generate electricity or hot water and reduce operating costs. These projects have been funded from grants and incentives from the Federal government and the City of Palo Alto Utilities. The Mitchell Park Library and Community Center was constructed using bond funds. The total rated power capacity of the solar photovoltaic (PV) systems is 264 kilowatts (kW)


    Municipal Services Center, 3201 East Bayshore Road

    • This site has two separate PV systems: three carports in the employee parking lot and seven pole-mounted tracking systems. While the carport modules have a fixed tilt and orientation, the trackers move to follow the sun which increases the amount of electricity generated throughout the year.
    • PV system specifications: Each tracker has 12 Sunpower modules and a Wattsun tracking unit. The MBARC custom carport has 408 Evergreen modules. There is one SatCon inverter per system. The total capacity for this site is 75 kW (16.7 kW for the trackers and 61 kW for the carport)
    • Installation Date: 2008

     Pearson Arastradero Preserve Gateway Building, 1530 Arastradero Road
    • This site uses solar energy to power the lights and electric equipment and heat the water on the buildings made from straw-bales. The solar power system uses batteries because this site is not connected to the electric grid.
    • PV system specifications: 12 Unisolar modules, 1 Xantrex inverter, 500 watts, 8 batteries 
    • Solar Water Heating system specifications: ProgressivTube passive solar water heater, 40 gallons
    • Installation date: 2006
    Baylands Interpretive Center, 2775 Embarcadero Road
    • The PV modules are installed on the roof at a low tilt to minimize visibility.
    • PV system specifications: 136 Sharp modules and 4 SMA inverters for a total capacity of 15 kW.
    • Installation Date: 2008
    Cubberley Community Center Gym, 4000 Middlefield Road
    • This site has PV modules mounted on the roof and on a canopy to provide shade to the south-facing cardio rooms.
    • PV system specifications: 96 Schott modules on the canopy, 520 Sunpower modules on the roof, 2 Xantrex inverters for a total systems capacity of 118 kW.
    • Installation Date: 2008
    Mitchell Park Community Center, 3700 Middlefield Road
    • This site has many sustainable design features and uses solar energy to generate electricity and heat the water for the library and community center.
    • PV system specifications: 262 SolarWorld modules, 1 Refusol inverter, 2 Advanced Energy inverters for a total capacity of 55 kW.
    • Solar Water heating system specifications: 14 Heliodyne drainback collectors with 668 gallons of storage capacity.
    • Installation Date: 2014
       Mitchell Park