MCE’s Fifth Local Solar Project Brought Online at Larkspur Cost Plus Plaza

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MCE’s Fifth Local Solar Project Brought Online at Larkspur Cost Plus Plaza

Local real estate developer Rawson, Blum & Leon (RBL) is leveraging MCE’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program to utilize unused rooftop space at its popular shopping center in Larkspur, CA. The project, built on the roof of Cost Plus, will deliver over 265 kilowatts AC (345 kW DC) of solar photovoltaic energy to the grid, enough to power nearly 100 homes per year. This is the fourth FIT project, and the fifth local solar project completed for MCE, with one more set to come online early next year.

“We’re very pleased to partner with Cost Plus Plaza to build clean energy projects right here in our community,” said MCE CEO Dawn Weisz. “We have 20 megawatts of MCE renewable energy projects online, under construction, or soon to be under construction within our service area, which includes all of Marin County, Napa County, Benicia, El Cerrito, Lafayette, Richmond, San Pablo and Walnut Creek. Building local projects creates local jobs and that’s a fundamental part of our mission.”

“With this solar project, RBL tapped what is typically a property’s most under-utilized asset – its roof – to generate new income and enhance the return of the real estate asset, while also benefitting the environment,” said Jeff Hintzke, Alta Energy’s vice president of operations. “Alta Energy is proud to have provided RBL with the analytics, financing options, technical assessments and procurement services to make this project become a reality.”

In partnership with RBL, the project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support local jobs, and be a long-term investment with a promising return. The 53,000-square foot center’s rooftop solar panel system will generate approximately $70,000, or $0.94 per square foot, in new revenue per year for RBL. Environmental benefits of the project are equivalent to the annual removal of eighty cars from Bay Area roads, and project installation by BayWa Renewable Energy supported ten local jobs.

“Solar energy helps us increase revenue at our Cost Plus Plaza property, while also helping the environment. We believe our tenants and their customers appreciate knowing the property is producing solar energy,” said Ari Blum, partner at RBL.

MCE’s generous FIT program invites local entrepreneurs to develop and sell renewable energy within its service area to MCE at a fixed price for 20 years. MCE’s FIT contract provided a basis for securing the project’s financing, as well as a high level of certainty regarding its generated revenue stream. To help incentivize local renewable projects such as this, MCE purchases electricity from FIT projects at an above-market rate.

MCE began receiving renewable energy deliveries from its first FIT project in 2012. Located at the San Rafael Airport, it is the largest solar project in Marin County, and utilizes roof-mounted photovoltaic solar panels to produce peak electric output of nearly one megawatt.