Crescent City Harbor commissioners on Wednesday gave their blessing to the construction of three carport canopies that will house a 407.4 kilowatt solar power system.

Part of an overall plan to build a 1.5 megawatt solar system to help the Crescent City Harbor District save on its energy costs, the carport will consist of 1,164 panels for a total of 25,100 square feet, according to a harbor staff report.

The cost to build the carports — an estimated $400,000 — will be covered by American Diversified Energy, the Costa Mesa-based firm that will finance, build and maintain the overall solar system, according to the staff report.

According to Deputy Harbormaster Lane Tavasci, the carports will consist of 40-foot wide spans and will be a one-pillar. They will consist of a 14 foot 6 inch minimum clearance and will have a maximum clearance of 19 feet 7 inches, according to the staff report. There will be 15-feet of overhang onto the grassy area and 25-feet of overhang over asphalt, according to the report.

Tavasci said the original design called for a minimum clearance of 16 feet, while other options for the carports would have generated 441 kW of energy. He said commissioners went with the 407.4 kW option to allow for enough space for crab pots to be housed underneath the canopy.

Commissioners were also concerned about forklifts and other vehicles running into the carport supports, so they chose to have the pillars set outside of the asphalt, according to Tavasci.

There was previous discussion about reinforcing the carports for future storage, however under the chosen design that isn’t an option, according to the report. The harbor district also has the option to pay for a waterproof ceiling, a rubber strip to keep water from leaking underneath the carports, lighting and outlets, according to the staff report.

A waterproof ceiling would cost the harbor district $62,750, according to the staff report. Installing a water mitigation rubber strip would cost the port $40,900, according to the report. Lighting would cost $1,440 and installing 24 outlets would cost the harbor $168, according to the report.

At a harbor district meeting in April, Mike Jones, American Diversified Energy vice president of engineering and geology, told commissioners the entire 1.5 megawatt project could save the port $1.4 million over 25 years.

On Wednesday, Tavasci said for every 1 megawatt the solar project generates, the harbor would save $20,000 per year for 25 years.

The project consists of four phases and includes construction of rooftop solar panels on several harbor buildings as well as storage facilities and the carports.

According to Tavasci, American Diversified Energy has submitted five net metering applications to Pacific Power and Light for the solar project. One application, for solar panels above the old Englund Marine building, has been approved, Tavasci said.

American Diversified Energy representatives will meet with the Del Norte County planning department as well as the harbor commission at its regular meeting Tuesday, according to Tavasci.

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