Editors’ Note: This dispatch is part of the Voice of OC Youth Media program, working with student journalists to cover public policy issues across Orange County. If you would like to submit your own student media project related to Orange County civics or if you have any response to this work, contact Digital Editor Sonya Quick at squick@voiceofoc.org.

Cypress officials are planning to put solar panels on city-owned buildings, a move that is gaining traction across California.

After being presented with an energy cost savings proposal from an undisclosed energy company in Cypress, the City Council in October unanimously decided to accept bids from solar companies interested in completing this task. Several attempts to obtain more information about the city’s plan went unanswered.

Cypress’ bid request asks for a holistic analysis and general revamping of its city buildings’ energy use. The city’s last energy audit was in 2006, but no energy-saving improvements have been made since 1996.

According to city documents, Cypress plans to identify and act on ways to improve the city’s energy efficiency and conservation efforts. This action is an effort to “evaluate the change in operational costs due to the recent utility rate change and upcoming statewide sustainability goals,” according to the city’s bid request.

California as a whole has been heading toward increased solar use, both in public and private construction. In 2018, the Golden State became the first in the country to require homes built in 2020 and later to be solar-powered.

By an executive order in 2012, former Gov. Jerry Brown required state-owned buildings to reduce “grid-based retail energy purchases by 20% by 2018, as compared to a 2003 baseline.”  Additionally, in the same order, he asked state agencies to “take actions to reduce entity-wide greenhouse gas emissions by at least 10% by 2015 and 20% by 2020, as measured against a 2010 baseline.”

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