The Santa Barbara City Council embraced a modest solar power project atop Fire Station No. 2, located at 819 Cacique Street, authorizing the expenditure of $161,000 to get the job done. If all goes according to plan, the solar panels should provide 65 percent of the station’s energy needs, saving City Hall $4,000 per year. Initially, the city’s bean counters estimated it would take 29 years for the project to pay for itself, but with rising electrical rates and the availability of solar rebates, that time period could be considerably shorter. Councilmembers chose Fire Station No. 2 after abandoning more ambitious plans to install solar panels on the downtown library rooftops due to financial and aesthetic considerations.

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