New solar projects to supply SV Clean Energy

RURAL ENERGY: These power lines that stretch across San Benito farmland will be supplied by more renewable sources in the future.

Silicon Valley Clean Energy has signed two long-term agreements for the largest utility-scale, solar-plus-storage projects to be built in California, for community power agencies serving Morgan Hill, Gilroy and Hollister.
The two projects will provide 153 megawatts (MW) of solar and 47 MW of storage and will be developed by Electricité de France and Recurrent Energy Development Holdings, LLC. These projects will come online in 2021 and will harness enough energy to power 39,000 homes annually.

Building storage in addition to solar turns the sun’s energy into a resource that can be used on demand, rather than only when the sun is shining. These projects will combine solar panels with large batteries to store energy that the sun produces during the day so that more clean energy can be discharged onto the grid during times of high energy usage in the evening.

“We are excited to help California lead the transition to clean, reliable and flexible energy,” said Girish Balachandran, CEO of Silicon Valley Clean Energy. “These new renewable energy projects are a significant investment towards reaching our state’s carbon-free energy goals and contribute to solving the state’s grid integration problem by investing in large grid-scale energy storage.”

The contracts are the result of a competitive bidding process that began in September 2017. The collaboration of SVCE, which serves Santa Clara County, with its neighboring Community Choice Energy agency, Monterey Bay Community Power, which serves San Benito County, took advantage of economies of scale for the combined four counties, allowing for more purchasing power to invest in these long-term agreements. The two agencies issued a joint RFO which received over 80 offers for new projects that were in various stages of development. The overwhelming response represents the vast amount of interest in new renewable energy development that continues to grow.

One project, developed by Recurrent, will be built in Kings County and will provide 150 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity, plus 45 MW of storage, for a 15-year agreement. The solar project, developed by EDF, will be built in Kern County, providing 128 MW of solar capacity and 40 MW of storage and is a 20-year agreement. These projects will support approximately 840 jobs during construction. SVCE will receive 55 percent of the output, and MBCP will receive 45 percent.

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