We all get our energy from the sun. The Westminster Police Department will get a little more.
The Westminster City Council approved solar panels on April 11 for the Civic Center’s new 650-space parking structure. The panels should offset energy usage for the structure and the new police station next door.
“They will help power the energy in the police building and greatly reduce if not eliminate energy costs,” said Police Chief Ron Coopman.
The solar panels will cost almost $2.1 million to install and maintain, including administration and management fees. Mangan Renewables, based in Long Beach, will install the panels for just over $1 million. Facility Builders & Erectors, Inc, an Anaheim company, will build the panel’s structures for $764,000.
The parking structure’s price tag is now almost $17.1 million. The original estimate was just under $15 million. Solar panels were contemplated in the beginning but were not part of the original design, Coopman said.
Though she voted with the council to approve the added cost, Mayor Margie Rice was unhappy with the increased budget.
“We didn’t have all these change orders with the (police) building but we’re sure getting hit with the parking lot,” she said. “I hope there won’t be any more coming. I’m not real happy with change orders.”
The parking structure is paid for mostly through leftover police station construction funds. The station came in $10 million under budget, allowing the city to use the savings plus the project’s 10-percent contingency to pay for the structure.
The city council will next meet Monday, April 30 instead of April 25 because Rice will be out of town. The meeting is still at 7 p.m. and still at 8200 Westminster Blvd.