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Peninsula Clean Energy starts work on 200-MW Central Valley Solar Farm

10.12.18

Original entry: https://www.power-eng.com/arti...

Peninsula Clean Energy has broken ground on a 200-MW solar project in the Central Valley of California.

The company called it the largest California solar installation being built exclusively for a community choice aggregation (CCA) agency. The Wright Solar facility is expected to come online in late 2019 and provide electricity for 299,000 customers in San Mateo County.

“This is a huge step for Peninsula Clean Energy and our customers,” said CEO Jan Pepper. “The Wright Solar project moves us toward our goal of providing all customers with 100 percent renewable power by 2025. This long-term contract locks in the price we pay for electricity, which helps ensure that our rates will remain low. The size of the project is unique for a CCA and positions PCE as a leader in the industry.”

Peninsula Clean Energy has an exclusive 25-year power purchase agreement with Wright Solar Park LLC to buy the solar facility’s electricity. The project is owned by Centaurus Renewable Energy and the construction and operations are managed by Clēnera, LLC. The solar facility is being constructed by Swinerton Renewable Energy with union labor hired from the surrounding areas.

“One of our primary objectives for PCE is to grow the supply of new renewable energy sources,” said Dave Pine, founding PCE Board Chair and President of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. “With the Wright Solar project, we are helping to fight climate change by adding 200 megawatts of new solar power. We’re also proud that the construction of this project will create approximately 400 union jobs in Merced County.”

CCA provides an alternative to investor-owned utilities, allowing the community to aggregate its residents’ buying power and giving them choice over which kind of energy they want. The utilities have struck back, winning a victory when California’s Public Utilities Commission approved an “exit fee” that charges CCAs when customers leave for the aggregator.

California is the nation’s largest producer of solar power, by far, and that will only grow with legislative mandates. California Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed SB100, legislation which calls for the state to get 100 percent of its energy from renewables by 2045. The mandate also sets a 60-percent goal by 2030.

Solar provides close to 20 percent of the state's electricity generation mix, with hydro delivering another 18 percent.

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