On December 1, Sun Power & Geothermal Energy announced it will award the Butte County Center in Oroville, Calif., an $8.4 million contract to design and build a 1MW solar photovoltaic system.

The system will use Xantrex inverters and include more than 9,000 Sharp 185-W solar modules. It will feature installation methods like two ground-mount arrays, one rooftop array, and solar panels mounted on parking shade structures at a county parking lot. The four solar arrays will provide 100% of the power for the Butte County Administration building, the East jail, and the West jail.

The solar system will store power from sunny days so it can be used at night and when it’s overcast. It has the potential to replace the equivalent energy used by 400 California homes, prevent 1,250 tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted in the atmosphere, and will eliminate the annual net electric bill for each of the three buildings.

Upon its completion in June 2004, the solar system will be one of the top 10 largest solar energy systems in the United States.