Ontario approves funding plan for energy infrastructure modernization

The City of Ontario has secured more than $35 million in funding for energy infrastructure improvements–an infrastructure renewal program that is projected to save the City more than $75 million over the life of its new equipment.

To pay for the project, Ontario leveraged funds from several sources, including the California Energy Commission Energy Conservation Assistance Act (ECAA), Southern California Edison utility rebates, California Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) and a tax-exempt municipal lease at historically low interest rates. This creative funding approach empowered Ontario to make a significant investment that addresses its aging energy infrastructure and establishes sustainability measures without needing to use general funds or capital dollars.

The funding plan enables the City to add a variety of energy infrastructure improvements throughout the City. Highlights of the planned improvements include LED streetlight conversions equipped with “smart” streetlight monitoring controls; high-efficiency heating, cooling and ventilation equipment; temperature controls; interior and exterior LED building and park lighting; solar PV structures at the Convention Center, Toyota Arena and City Hall Annex; solar thermal systems at Westwind and Dorothy Quesada swim centers; and battery storage systems that provide backup power to critical sites.

Named “Smart Ontario,” the program will dramatically reduce utility and operational costs while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 10,000 tons annually. This is enough to power 1,322 Ontario homes, remove 1,850 cars from the road and preserve more than 263,000 trees from deforestation each year.

“I am excited to see our community progress toward a greener, economically viable future,” said Ontario Mayor Paul Leon. “This is a tremendous milestone for the City, local businesses and residents.”

The program is projected to save more than $75 million in taxpayer dollars, which includes operational savings of approximately $56 million and $19 million in capital expenditure savings. These savings exceed the cost of the program plus any loan repayments.

“Achieving greater energy efficiency saves taxpayer dollars and keeps resources for other essential community services and programs,” said Armen Harkalyan, Ontario’s Executive Director of Finance. “While cost-efficiency is always a priority for the City, it is even more important in light of the COVID-19 crisis and other fiscal challenges.”

This funding arrangement follows an agreement between the City of Ontario and Climatec, which Ontario’s City Council approved in July 2020. An industry leader with offices throughout California, Climatec specializes in making infrastructure smarter, safer and more efficient, while providing significant relief for an organization’s bottom line.

“Ontario’s infrastructure modernization plan is a perfect example of how energy improvements are a big win on several fronts, in terms of protecting the environment, reducing costs and addressing California’s ever-changing energy landscape and climate,” said Jeff Bartel, Climatec’s Business Development Manager. “Climatec is proud to support the City of Ontario as it pursues a more energy-efficient, cost-effective future.”