Contra Costa County uses SunPower to hedge against peak electric rates

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Contra Costa County in California recently selected SunPower to deploy a mix of Helix Roof and Carport solar systems at 10 locations totaling 3.7 megawatts, which is expected to offset approximately 68 percent grid electricity and save $16.5 million in energy costs over 25 years. Three of those sites will also feature Helix Storage systems that reach a combined 1.5 megawatts (3,000 kilowatt hours) and deliver significant demand charge savings to Contra Costa County.

“The electric utility system is evolving and we’re confident that these solar and storage solutions from SunPower will help us adapt, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the local environment while delivering energy and demand charge savings to the County,” said Frank Di Massa, Energy Manager at Contra Costa County. “The solar and storage systems are a key component of our Distributed Energy Resource Action Plan and, by extension, will facilitate the expansion of the County’s EV charge infrastructure and automated demand response efforts.”

Deal structure

Solar-and-storage system design and implementation will take place over the next year. The county will buy energy produced by the project under a 25-year power purchase agreement and will own the renewable energy credits associated with the solar production which may have a monetary value in the future.

“We welcome Contra Costa County to a growing list of customers that are offsetting high demand charges with our Helix Solar and Storage solutions, allowing the County to reduce energy costs and use savings to enhance County public services,” said Nam Nguyen, SunPower executive vice president, commercial solar. “As the U.S. commercial solar leader, SunPower is committed to simplifying the solar and storage process for energy buyers like Contra Costa County with intelligent solutions that provide safe and reliable access to renewable energy.”

Demand for SunPower’s value-generating Helix solutions remains high, with a Helix Storage pipeline exceeding 135 megawatts and attach rates of over 35 percent. The company has leveraged this proven success to develop Equinox Storage, a residential storage solution for homeowners announced recently.

— Solar Builder magazine



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