Marin Clean Energy Generates Renewable Power Providers

Posted on: August 7th, 2013 by Stas

Marin Clean Energy Generates Renewable Power Providers

By Stas Margaronis, RBTUS

Marin Clean Energy’s Feed-In Tariff program is supporting a new generation of renewable power providers in Marin County, California, explains Jamie Tuckey, MCE communications director:

“The feed-in tariff is a fixed contract for 20 years in which we buy energy from renewable energy providers in Marin or the City of Richmond. The feed-in tariff limits project size to 1 MW. However, there is capacity for a total of 10 MW under the program. The program offers a long-term 20-year contract, ensuring a stable power supply for MCE customers, with pricing varying by energy type.”

The San Rafael Airport project was MCE’s first feed-in tariff project. MCE signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the San Rafael Airport for 972 kilowatts of rooftop solar power. Nearly 5,000 solar panels, mounted on 48 aircraft hangar rooftops, provide enough energy to power nearly 1,200 homes during peak energy production when the sun is shining the brightest: “As a business model working to create local ‘green’ jobs, Synapse Electric built the project and hired 20 workers specifically for this project through the Marin City Community Development Corporation and CLP Resources. Synapse also hired 3 new locally-based full-time employees. The project took 3-4 months to build. San Rafael-based REP Energy designed the installation, and the REC Group manufactured 85% of the solar panels which are American-made. Power-One supplied all of the inverters which are also American-made. The project was financed locally by the Bank of Marin and businessman Joe Shekou.”

Tuckey says, “MCE negotiates power purchase agreements for its other power supply needs and currently has PPA contracts in place with 11 companies.  Some of these are shorter duration and some are longer. They include contracts with Shell, the Geysers and others. MCE contracts for 240 MW to supply energy to its customers in Marin and the City of Richmond.”

She said MCE signed a contract with enXco to build 40 MW of new solar for MCE customers: “As part of this agreement enXco agreed to construct 1 MW of the solar locally in MCE’s service area. Permitting to build the project at the Novato-based Buck Institute is underway. The structure will take approximately 9 acres of space and is likely to be built on an existing parking lot in Novato. The parking structure will transform heat-absorbing parking areas into a beautiful, efficient solar power project creating clean electricity for MCE customers.  The price for a typical 1 MW PV carport structure is about $2.90 a watt or $2.9 Million.”

Tuckey said: “Our peak load is 209 MW. Peak load is defined as the number of generation megawatts (MW) required to be online to serve load.  Megawatt-hours ((MWh)  are the measurement of the energy produced each hour that generation is online. 209 MW generating 8760 hours per year produces 1,831 MWh.”


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