MCE Solar One, Bay Area’s largest publicly owned solar project, now complete

MCE Solar One Array trackers

Project not pictured. Just a lovely shot of a bridge in Richmond, Calif.

Built on an old refinery, MCE Solar One is a new 60-acre, 10.5 MW ground mount solar farm in Richmond, Calif., brought to life by Cenergy Power and sPower.

The project deployed approximately 80,000 ground mounted modules using both a fixed tilt rack as well as single axis trackers, with RPCS supplying and installing the Array Technologies DuraTrack HZ v3 tracker for the SAT portion. Pre-development costs were covered in part by customers participating in MCE’s Deep Green 100 percentrenewable energy service. Once completed, MCE Solar One will generate renewable energy to power 3,417 homes per year.

MCE and the city of Richmond also committed to a 50 percent local hire requirement to build MCE Solar One, guaranteeing local benefits through clean energy job creation. In supporting this local hire requirement, MCE created over 300 jobs by partnering with RichmondBUILD, a program that focuses on developing skill in the high growth, high wage construction and renewable energy sectors. Eighty percent of graduates from RichmondBUILD’s programs are placed into well-paying jobs. MCE will train and hire skilled graduates of the RichmondBuild program as employees for the project.

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“It’s great seeing an old refinery convert its property to a solar project. Overcoming site-specific environmental and property challenges on this site is proof that more of these projects are going to keep happening. It was a pleasure supporting MCE, sPower, and our long-term partners at Cenergy while providing opportunities for local workers through RichmondBUILD,” said RPCS Chief Sales Officer Alex Smith. “This project is a real achievement for everyone involved and a success for lots of people on lots of different levels. We’re very happy to have helped support MCE Solar One and to congratulate MCE, sPower, and Cenergy Power.”

Together, MCE, sPower, Cenergy, and RPCS are working toward increasing the use of renewable energy resources in an effort to help the state reach its greenhouse gas reduction goals, all while creating local jobs and clean power.

— Solar Builder magazine

sPower completes largest operating solar facility in its portfolio


sPower and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) kicked off commercial operations of the 107 megawatt (MWdc) Solverde 1 solar farm. The project is located in the City of Lancaster, Calif., in northern LA County. sPower installed more than 330,000 solar modules with a peak construction crew of 250 plus workers. The project was developed under an aggressive schedule going from signing the PPA to completing interconnection to building and commissioning the project in just 12 months.

Solverde 1 holds claim to several important attributes. It is the largest solar photovoltaic facility to provide power to the DWR. It is also the biggest solar Contract for Difference (CfD) project in the United States. And it is sPower’s largest individual operating facility in its portfolio.

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“In recent years, the California State Water Project has steadily decreased its carbon footprint, and we’re proud to be able to support their needs with reliable, affordable clean energy,” said Jim Howell, sPower SVP of commercial power marketing. “The Contract for Difference structure of the Solverde 1 PPA lets DWR hedge against wholesale price fluctuations by locking in long-term, predictable and competitive power rates.”

Howell said that other customers, like large corporate entities, could also benefit from CfDs. “The power market is evolving rapidly. Commercial companies looking to meet sustainability targets or control energy costs must navigate a highly sophisticated and very complicated landscape. sPower is uniquely qualified to simplify the technical requirements for offtakers – from scheduling coordination with CAISO to innovative CfD structures to managing other market operations – which opens up the U.S. corporate PPA market.”


— Solar Builder magazine

sPower gets funds to finance nine solar projects (340 MW)

spowersPower completed a tax equity investment and syndicated construction and term loan facility totaling $786 million. KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc. acted as coordinating lead arranger for the syndicated debt facility totaling $519 million. The capital will be used to finance a group of nine solar projects that, when fully operational, will generate 339.4MW of renewable energy. While most of the projects are under construction, two recently achieved COD.

The size, complexity and number of parties involved make this a landmark transaction in the renewables arena. CohnReznick Capital Markets Securities (CRCMS), a boutique investment banking services firm, advised sPower on the tax equity investment. Stoel Rives LLP, a prominent law firm in energy project development and finance, assisted sPower with the negotiation and documentation of the financing.

“With a company that is growing so quickly, recycling capital is incredibly important,” said Ray Henger, sPower SVP structured finance. “Financing a large portfolio build out with a single tax equity provider and a syndicate of banks creates substantial efficiencies.”

Earlier this year, sPower commissioned an incremental 179.3 MW of renewable energy projects, including its inaugural wind project (60 MW Latigo Wind Park in Utah) and a number of utility-scale solar projects in California, Massachusetts and New York.

— Solar Builder magazine

Pacific Gas and Electric awards sPower PPAs for three solar projects in California

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) recently awarded sPower, headquartered in Salt Lake City, announced a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) contracts for three new solar projects in California.

spowerThe three facilities, named Bayshore A, B and C, located in Lancaster, Calif., will be constructed and commissioned in 2017. When fully operational, the Bayshore cluster will generate enough clean, renewable energy to power more than 11,000 Californian homes.

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“We are excited to expand our relationship with PG&E to a total of more than 100 megawatts of solar, helping PG&E to achieve their goals of delivering safe, reliable, clean energy to their customers,” said Ryan Creamer, sPower CEO. “We admire PG&E’s leadership in clean power transformation efforts and are pleased to be able to be a part of the process.”

California renewable portfolio standard policy requires utilities to source a third of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Earlier this year, PG&E announced that they are well ahead of schedule, having already reached nearly 30 percent – maintaining the utility’s position as a national front-runner in greenhouse gas reductions.

— Solar Builder magazine

sPower wins 68.8-MW Southern California Public Power Authority

sPower, a prominent renewable energy provider, has been awarded a 20-year PPA with Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) to provide 68.8 MW DC of solar power. Participating member agencies are the cities of Azusa, Colton, Riverside and Vernon.

sustainabilityThe sPower Antelope DSR 1 and 2 facilities will be constructed on roughly 440 acres located in Lancaster, Calif., Los Angeles County. Construction is expected to begin mid-2016, with a commercial operations date (COD) in 2016. sPower estimates a peak construction crew size of up to 160.

“Renewable energy continues to be a focus for SCPPA members, and with partners like sPower, we are able to offer our members clean, reliable and affordable power,” said Kelly Nguyen, SCPPA Director, Energy Systems.

These projects are the third and fourth sPower-owned facilities with long term SCPPA PPAs. The previous PPAs were for 20-MW projects, both of which are on track for 2016 CODs. “We appreciate the collaborative relationship that has been built with SCPPA,” said Ryan Creamer, sPower’s CEO. “SCPPA is an exceptional organization to work with, balancing goal setting with flexibility — without sacrificing schedule or budget milestones.”

When fully operational, the facilities will cumulatively generate enough renewable energy for nearly 10,000 homes and are expected to reduce carbon emissions about 108,000 metric tons annually – the equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions from 257 million miles driven by an average car or carbon dioxide emissions from 1,400 tanker trucks’ worth of gasoline1.

sPower has been developing solar projects in California for several years, as well as in other key markets across ten states and in the UK. Earlier in the year, the company closed on its first back leverage transaction for $168.5MM debt financing and has more than a gigawatt of projects planned.


— Solar Builder magazine