News & Events
January 22, 2014
New Year Brings New Solar Milestone

Riverside, Calif. – It took less than a month of the New Year for Riverside to reach the first of many “green” milestones it expects to accomplish in 2014, as solar energy projects within the city passed the 8 megawatt (MW) mark this week.

“Just three months ago we passed the 7 megawatt mark,” said Riverside’s Mayor Rusty Bailey (one megawatt is enough energy to power about 650 homes). “Each green energy project provides benefits for the customers, for Riverside Public Utilities, and for the city.”

Rebates and incentives available from Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) and the state, as well as more cost-effective and efficient solar generation panels, has spurred the growth of privately-owned solar projects in Riverside, which now number more than 860. RPU began turning Riverside into a solar city by funding projects at city parks, pool facilities, senior centers, low-income housing facilities, and even on top of City Hall before it started offering a solar rebate incentive for residential electric customers in 2003, and one for commercial electric customers in 2008.

“As the number of renewable energy projects continues to increase, so do the benefits they can provide citywide,” said Riverside’s Sustainability Officer Michael Bacich. “Customers who install solar generation units for example, can dramatically reduce or even eliminate their energy consumption from our utility,” Bacich said. “That extra electricity can be used to help us maintain our commitments to both the local and state power grids.”

Each additional green energy milestone also moves Riverside closer to meeting, and surpassing California’s renewable energy portfolios standard (RPS) that requires utilities to have a power mix of 25% renewables by 2016, and 33% by 2020.

“We have aggressively sought out and procured a variety of renewable energy contracts from solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass, and geothermal generation sources over the past several years,” Bacich said. “As a result, we have been able to meet a 20% renewable power goal in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.”

In just the past 15 months alone, RPU has entered into the following long term renewable Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs):

20-MW Solar PV PPA through SCPPA for Silverado’s Summer Solar and Antelope Big Blue Sky Ranch projects in Lancaster – COD of mid-2015

26-MW Solar PV PPA through SCPPA for Recurrent’s Clearwater and Columbia Two projects in Kern County – COD of end of 2014

14-MW Solar PV PPA through SCPPA for First Solar’s Kingbird project in Kern County – COD of late 2015

39-MW Cabazon Wind PPA for NextEra’s Cabazon wind project in Palm Springs – starting Jan. 2015

New geothermal PPA with CalEnergy for 20 MW starting 2016, stepping up to 40 MW in 2019 and further stepping up to 86 MW in May 2020

Combined, these contracts will provide increasing amounts of renewable energy to RPU’s portfolio, which is expected to reach 40% renewable by 2019 – over, and ahead of the state RPS requirements.

For more information about solar projects in Riverside, including the Green Map which points out where local solar projects are located within the city, go to GreenRiverside.com. For additional information about Riverside Public Utilities follow us on Facebook and on Twitter at @RPUNews.
 

December 2014
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