On Tuesday, February 14, MCE and JHS Properties unveiled Freethy Industrial Park, a new, two-megawatt, ground-mounted solar project in Richmond, marking the completion of MCE’s third Feed-In Tariff project.
The Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program invites local entrepreneurs to develop and sell renewable energy to MCE within its service area at a fixed price for twenty years. Four new FIT projects are being completed within a six-month period, between November 2016 and April 2017, totaling 3.3 megawatts.
Bob Herbst, property manager for JHS Properties, also managed MCE’s first FIT project at the San Rafael Airport – one megawatt of solar which came online in 2012. “At JHS Properties, we’re proud to support MCE’s goal of producing local renewable energy projects. With the addition of this two-megawatt project in Richmond, we now supply clean, sustainable energy for local homes within the MCE service area.”
The Freethy Industrial Park solar project supplies enough power for up to 600 homes annually, with greenhouse gas reductions equivalent to taking 114 cars off the road each year.
Richmond Mayor Tom Butt, who led the City’s effort to join MCE in 2013, stated, “This two-megawatt project is the latest to join a list of large scale solar projects that make Richmond a renewable energy leader in the state. Our workforce is gearing up for the expanding opportunities in green collar jobs with commercial-scale job training. RichmondBUILD is ensuring that the benefits from solar projects extend beyond environmental sustainability to generate social mobility and careers in clean energy.”
Sunstall Inc. and the City of Richmond’s RichmondBUILD program provided labor to construct the solar panel installation, which supported twenty-three jobs. Through RichmondBUILD’s program, workers gained a new skill set, making them eligible for further opportunities to work for local solar installation companies. Three permanent jobs were created for Energy Systems Development to maintain the system for ten years.
The racking for Freethy Industrial Park is steel manufactured in the USA, and the inverters are made by U.S.-based, Yaskawa – Solectria Solar, the top commercial PV inverter supplier in the U.S. Solar modules for the project were produced by REC, which holds the top position among solar module companies supplying the California residential sector. REC owns and operates the third largest silicon plant in the USA, which is powered by hydroelectricity.
“MCE’s local renewable energy projects replace carbon-emitting fossil power on the grid while creating local jobs. This project helps California lead the way to a secure energy future with underutilized land becoming a source of revenue for property owners and solar developers,” said Dawn Weisz, CEO of MCE. “We’re proud to have 4.2 megawatts of new, local renewable energy projects online and fifteen megawatts under construction.”
In four years, MCE customers have eliminated over 122 metric tons of polluting greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to taking nearly 26,000 cars off our roads for an entire year.