North Coast Health Center installs solar rooftop


North Coast Health Center has installed a 265-kilowatt rooftop, which provides more than 452,000 hours of energy each year to the Encinitas facility.

The roofing, installed by San Diego-based developer Borrego Solar Systems, will provide 75 percent of the facility’s common energy needs and save the AmeriCare Medical Properties-operated center $3.5 million in energy costs.

“We’ve seen energy costs continue to rise faster than general inflation,” said Greg Petree, president of AmeriCare Medical Properties, in a news release. “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 million in energy efficiency programs over the last two years, including reflective cool roofs, LED building and tenant light replacement, LED parking lot light upgrade, variable frequency drives in cooling yards and campus-wide modern window tinting.

“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.”

Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear said she hopes North Coast will set a trend among other local businesses to go solar.

“There are a lot of solar projects on residences and government buildings, but there are relatively few on large commercial buildings,” she said. “Part of that is the difficulty in working out the financing. ... The fact that this business figured out a way to make that work is a good example of the future.”