SAN RAFAEL and CONCORD, Calif. (Oct. 18, 2022) — Renewable Properties, a developer and investor in small-scale utility and community solar projects, is adding two new projects to its growing portfolio with MCE, California’s first community choice aggregator (CCA).
The two new Renewable Properties projects are the first major solar projects in the Byron area, located in unincorporated Contra Costa County, California. The 5 MW Byron Highway Solar project, which completed construction in August 2022, will generate enough energy to power 2,069 California homes per year, reducing 10,631 tons of greenhouse gasses annually. The 1 MW Byron Hot Springs Solar project will be completed in 2023 and will generate enough energy to power 384 homes per year and reduce 1,972 tons of greenhouse gasses annually.
MCE’s innovative Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program made these projects possible by offering an incentivized payment structure for renewable energy projects built in its service area. MCE’s FIT program has been instrumental in building local renewable energy projects that provide local jobs with prevailing wages and environmental benefits through pollinator-friendly ground cover. Laborers’ Local 324, Operating Engineers Local 3, Piledrivers Local 34, Teamsters Local 315, and IBEW Local 302 & Local 595 provided local labor for the Byron projects.
“We’ve been working with MCE since the founding of Renewable Properties,” said Aaron Halimi, Founder & CEO of Renewable Properties. “Our growing portfolio of six MCE projects is a reflection of MCE’s support for building clean energy communities and expanding solar development in Northern California with their innovative FIT program. We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with MCE and furthering California’s clean energy goals.”
The Byron projects were the first to be permitted under Contra Costa County’s newly adopted Solar Energy Ordinance, which includes restrictions to limit the environmental impact on sensitive habitats and agricultural lands. Both projects are participating in the East Contra Costa Habitat Conservancy’s Habitat Conservation Plan. Byron Hot Springs will reseed disturbed areas with a native pollinator seed mix approved by the Conservancy. Five of the other projects in the portfolio also incorporate pollinator habitats.
The 2 MW Soscol Ferry Solar installation in Napa was deployed at the end of 2020 on land that was previously a vineyard. It was also the first commercial-scale solar installation in the County to install a pollinator plant meadow, using a native seed mix to attract pollinator species such as bees and monarch butterflies. Pollinator habitat planting is in progress for 10 acres at the 3 MW Silveira Ranch Solar in Novato, as well as at Lake Herman Solar, the first major solar project in Solano County, in the City of Benicia.
At 5 MW, the Lake Herman project doubled the amount of solar energy produced in Benicia. The pollinator plan includes site preparation and ongoing management to prevent the previously dominant invasive nonnative and noxious species from re-establishing themselves.
“MCE launched our FIT program so that we could build local renewable energy and a green economy at the same time,” said Dawn Weisz, CEO of MCE. “Renewable Properties has been a major partner in this, supporting local jobs, and creating ecosystem benefits with the addition of pollinator-friendly ground cover on their solar projects.”
The first Renewable Properties project to be deployed under the MCE FIT program, also the first project for Renewable Properties, was the 3 MW American Canyon Solar installation, located on 21 acres in American Canyon in Napa County. Together, the 19 MW portfolio of projects will generate enough energy per year to power over 7,000 homes in MCE’s service territory and reduce over 36,000 tons of CO2, contributing to California’s carbon-free future.