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Sparks’ newest park fit with solar panels
by Jill Lufrano
Nov 07, 2011 | 1851 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Tribune/Dan McGee - A view from a hill shows three of the solar panels that have been installed at Golden Eagle. The panels will power both the parking and field lights as well as put electricity into the grid.
SPARKS — City officials met with NV Energy and Hamilton Solar representatives Monday to celebrate the installation of new solar panels at Sparks’ largest and most expensive regional park.

Located east of Wingfield Springs, the $30 million Golden Eagle Regional Park now is equipped with state-of-the art photovoltaic solar panels in the parking lot, installed by Hamilton Solar.

The project already is generating close to 600 kilowatts in solar power, adding up to $120,000 a year, according to the city. Each 100 kilowatts saves approximately $20,000 per year in electricity costs, saving the city some $40,000 per year in electricity costs at the park, officials estimate. In comparison, it takes 3.5 kilowatts to power a home, Mayor Geno Martini said.

A series of pole-mounted solar canopies were constructed at a slope of five degrees angled toward the sun to serve as shade structures for visitors as well. They are installed in three areas adjacent to baseball, football and softball fields.

NV Energy rebates also made the project possible by paying for construction, according to city officials. The city was presented with a large ceremonial check worth $995,410 for the rebate program Monday.

“When it comes to checks, size does matter,” Martini said. “The bigger the better.”

The complex was paid for mostly by fees from residential NV Energy bills, approved by the 2003 state Legislature, and by grants and rebates, officials said Monday. FieldTurf provided the artificial turf for the project, which is expected to save the city 42 million gallons of water annually, according to Adam Mayberry, spokesman for the city of Sparks.

The city anticipates that nearly 500,000 people will visit the 450-acre park each year, Mayberry said. The sports complex has fields for softball, baseball, soccer and football plus two multi-purpose fields. Volleyball and bocce ball courts are also included.

Two concession buildings, including a 7,200-square-foot restaurant called the Golden Eagle Grill, and a maintenance facility are also part of the project. The project also provides an overlook and trails that will eventually connect to the regional trail system.

Most of the funding came from RED Development, which paid the city $17.7 million for Don Mello Sports Complex at Sparks Boulevard and E. Lincoln Way to make room for the Legends at Sparks Marina, Mayberry said. Other funding included $6 million from consolidated tax revenue bonds, $3.4 million in park impact fees and $1.8 million from the Washoe County Parks and Open Space Bond approved by voters in 2000.

Golden Eagle is located about 8 miles north of Interstate 80 on Vista Boulevard.
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