IBEW Local 332 recently installed a photovoltaic (PV) solar power system as part of its new headquarters in San Jose, Calif., allowing it to generate 70% to 80% of the building’s total electrical needs.

Capable of generating 55kW, the PV array has cut the facility’s utility bill in half since its installation. In addition, the system allows the local to send power back to the utility grid on the weekends when the building is vacant, which is credited to the IBEW’s account.

Jay James, project coordinator and IBEW Local 332 executive board member, believes IBEW is positioning itself to cope with energy generation requirements in the future with the installation of the PV system.

“The solar power industry is growing 40% per year annually worldwide,” says James. “Many buildings in the 21st Century will be constructed to produce at least some, and eventually all, of their own energy. The IBEW in Silicon Valley will be fully prepared to assume a leadership role in solar technology.”

The installation, which is the largest solar-powered facility west of the Mississippi River, has been designated an official Green Building model by the City of San Jose.

IBEW Local 332 spent $400,000 on the installation of the system, 40% of which will be rebated by the State of California. The state rebates $4.50 per watt up to 50% of the total cost of an installation.