New Solar Array to Provide 67 Percent of Tracy Facility’s Energy Needs

Taylor Farms Pacific unveiled its new 300,000-square-foot solar installation situated atop its west San Joaquin County facility.

According to a statement released detailing the project, the solar array will provide 67 percent of the energy needs at the location.

There are 8,024 panels in the installation, which occupies 7.5 acres of the facility’s rooftops. Taylor Farms said it is the largest private solar panel array in the county, providing 2.256 megawatts of power to the facility. The clean energy project will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2,752 metric tons each year.

“I am thrilled to see yet another one of our sustainability projects come to fruition, and this is one of our most exciting projects to date,” said Nicole Flewell, director of sustainability with Taylor Farms. “With each installation, whether solar, wind or cogeneration, we continue to add clean power to our facilities nationwide in the most sustainable manner possible.”

Taylor Farms, a salad and healthy foods producer, has installed eight such projects at its locations throughout the U.S. since 2012. Taylor Farms Pacific in Tracy employs more than 1,300 people.

“This is a wonderful achievement for Taylor Farms’ sustainability program,” said Robert Rickman, the mayor of Tracy. “We’re excited about not only the innovation that Taylor Farms is bringing to the City of Tracy, but what’s to come with our partnership.”

New Solar Array to Provide 67 Percent of Tracy Facility’s Energy Needs, by Staff, Central Valley Business Journal, October 10, 2017.

Lemoore Charged up over Charging Stations

The ChargePoint company says they are helping more people choose to drive electric. The company was recently awarded a California Energy Commission grant to develop, own and operate high-speed EV charging stations along key highway corridors in California.

Now they want to install a station in Lemoore the City Council heard about at a study session last month. Staff says an agreement with the company is expected in coming weeks.

Within the next two to five years, the number of EV drivers in the community will increase rapidly, believe both the company and the state. At no cost to the city of Lemoore, ChargePoint plans to install and maintain 10 total parking spaces with the initial installation of two to four high-speed EV chargers and one dual port Level 2 charger. It serves drivers wanting to make a 30 minute to an hour stop; compatible with all electric vehicles. Level2 charging ports charge time is between one to three hours.

The development is expected to make Lemoore a popular stop along Highway 41 and increase visitation to Downtown Lemoore. ChargePoint would own, operate and maintain the station at its own expense over a 15-year term (option to auto-renew).

The current proposal would be to use a city parking lot on E Street, near the depot.

Lemoore Charged up over Charging Stations, by John Lindt, The Sentinel, November 9, 2017.

California’s Visalia Unified School District to Install 1.6 MWh of Green Charge Energy Storage

SANTA CLARA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Green Charge, an ENGIE Company, today announced that the Visalia Unified School District will install 1.6-megawatt hours of energy storage at five schools in the district. The energy storage system, coupled with solar, is expected to save the school district more than $1,000,000 over the 10-year contract. The Visalia school district invested in the energy storage system, which will become the largest installation of energy storage systems in a Tulare County school district. Green Charge’s energy storage solution will be on display at the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO) Fall Central Section Fall Conference on Friday, September 29 at the Wyndham Hotel in Visalia, CA.

“Some K-12 school districts do not realize that deploying an energy storage system will save significant money,” said Rick Brown, Ph.D., president, Terra Verde Renewable Partners, project managers for the Visalia USD energy storage project. “Savings generated from demand charge reduction are an indirect boon to education, since paying less for electricity leaves more in the operational budget.”

Green Charge was recently named the number one energy storage company by Navigant Research and their customer portfolio includes more than 100 California schools. The Green Charge energy storage systems are monitored, optimized, and controlled through its proprietary software platform. The Green Charge system includes GridSynergy® Storage, a customized indoor/outdoor lithium-ion-based battery storage unit and GridSynergy Software, providing visibility, analytics and managing demand for energy and providing visibility into savings. Adding energy storage to solar PV, allows Visalia to smooth out peaks and gaps in generation and energy use caused by facility operations.

”Over the past 5 years our Board has directed us to implement solar and energy conservation projects that reduce operational costs and demonstrate our commitment to environmental stewardship. We are excited to move into this new technology to advance our continuous search for cost-effective energy solutions,” noted Robert Groeber, Assistant Superintendent at Visalia USD.

“Green Charge has installed more energy storage systems at more school districts throughout California than any other provider,” said Vic Shao, president and CEO at Green Charge. “What is significant for cash-strapped schools is that funds generated from energy storage can be made available almost as soon as the energy storage system is installed, thanks to California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). This program promotes the installation of certain technologies (among them solar PV and energy storage) that are deployed to meet all or a portion of a facility’s electricity needs. Converted to general funds, all of these funds can enable schools to commit to much-needed infrastructural improvements, hire additional teachers, or fund traditionally cash-strapped arts programs.”

If you’re interested in learning more about how K-12 school districts and community colleges can grow their general fund with an energy storage solution please visit http://www.greencharge.net/site-analysis/.

About TerraVerde:

TerraVerde is the leading independent energy advisory firm focused on developing and managing large-scale efficiency and solar and battery storage projects for its clients. TerraVerde develops renewable energy facilities for local and state governments, school districts and water agencies. Solar energy systems provide TerraVerde clients with fairly priced, reliable, long-term, inflation-hedged sources of green energy. Additionally, these systems help TerraVerde clients meet clean energy regulatory requirements and achieve green branding objectives. TerraVerde creates value in the communities in which we operate by reducing local greenhouse gas emissions, supporting community-based environmental programs and local government initiatives and providing investments that promote the development of green jobs. For more information, visit: www.TerraVerdeEnergy.com.

About Green Charge:

Green Charge has been designing and deploying commercial energy storage since 2009, with systems installed throughout the United States. As part of ENGIE, the largest independent power producer in the world, Green Charge’s mission is to use energy storage to power the world efficiently and sustainably. Our team consists of top energy storage industry experts who provide performance-based solutions to optimize the value of energy for our customers. Our ecosystem of solar, EV charging, and energy efficiency experts allows our customers to combine energy storage and renewables easily and economically. Visit www.greencharge.net for more information.

Contacts

Green Charge
Anne Smith, 408-313-8089
asmith@greencharge.net

California’s Visalia Unified School District to Install 1.6 MWh of Green Charge Energy StorageBusiness Wire, September 28, 2017.

Faraday Future Executive Visits Hanford

After announcing plans to locate an electric car manufacturing facility in Hanford, Faraday Future has been relatively mum about definite plans; but one of the car company’s executives paid a visit to Hanford Thursday to give an update on the company.

Dag Reckhorn, Faraday Future’s senior vice president of global manufacturing, talked to members at the Rotary Club of Hanford’s noon meeting Thursday about the company before answering questions from the audience.

Faraday Future signed a lease in August to locate a manufacturing facility in the old Pirelli tire plant. The company immediately hosted a clean-up event to prepare the 1 million square-foot new site for the move-in of manufacturing equipment.

The facility is supposed to be used to manufacture the company’s first electronic vehicle, the FF 91, and hopefully bring it to market.

Reckhorn is in charge of developing the company’s global manufacturing strategy and overseeing all the manufacturing plans, including the construction planning process of the Hanford facility.

Reckhorn admitted that the company has been in the press for both good and bad things, but hoped to show those in the audience that Faraday Future has big plans for Hanford.

“Faraday is not just a car company. What we want to do is something different,” Reckhorn said. “Yes, we have a car, but we want to be a global mobility company.”

Reckhorn said everything the company does is about making life more connected, intuitive and convenient. The most important thing he said the company wants to do is allow people to “live, move and breathe more freely.”

The cars the company wants to build will use clean energy, artificial intelligence and the internet, Reckhorn said. These cars include autonomous driving capabilities and be attuned to the people sitting in the car, from music to travel destinations, he said.

Reckhorn said the car will have three electric motors capable of 1,050 horsepower and go from 0 to 60 mph in 2.39 seconds. He said the battery will have 130 kilowatt hours that takes the car 378 miles, and be charged using a 110-volt outlet.

The leadership team at Faraday Future is fairly new, including COO/CFO Stefan Krause, who is the former CFO of both Deutsche Bank and BMW Global, and CTO Ulrich Kranz, former senior vice president at BMW.

Reckhorn said right now the company is focused on installing all the necessary equipment inside the plant in order to manufacture the cars.

In a presentation to the Rotary Club, Reckhorn showed the flow of the assembly line that will be inside the facility, from body assembly to paint. He said various tests will also be performed inside the plant to make sure the car is ready for the road.

The timeline for when the manufacturing facility will be operation is tentative, Reckhorn said. He said there are a few things the company needs to do before coming to Hanford.

First, Reckhorn said the company must obtain certain permits, including conditional use permits from the city, which he is in town to do.

Secondly, the company has to confirm funding. Reckhorn said he knows the company has been in the press concerning funding issues in the past, but said they have learned from their mistakes and are working on those issues.

In June, Faraday Future dropped out of building a $1 billion, 3-million square-foot facility in Las Vegas amid financial issues.

“We have a very good, capable CFO with Stefan, and he is getting us the money,” Reckhorn said. “That’s the most important thing for me.”

When asked why the company chose to come to Hanford, Reckhorn said the reasons include highway access between San Francisco and Los Angeles, two large electronic vehicle markets, and because there was already an existing plant here.

“I wish I could turn the time back,” Reckhorn said. “Then we would’ve come here two years ago.”

Thirdly, Reckhorn said the company is working on customer demand; because without people to buy the cars, the company can’t create jobs. He said he couldn’t give firm numbers on when or how many people the company is hiring, but said it will definitely be “hundreds of people for sure.”

When asked if local people will be hired, Reckhorn said some of the employees will be brought in from other places, but local employees will also be hired and trained to work there.

“We need local people, for sure,” Reckhorn said.

A spokesman for Faraday Future told the Sentinel in an email Tuesday that work is expected to “ramp-up” on site in late November, following the move out of current tenants. Both city of Hanford and Kings County officials have expressed excitement and hope that the company will come to Hanford and create job growth.

Faraday Future Executive Visits Hanford, by Julissa Zavala, The Sentinel, September 22, 2017.

German Firm Plans 1,600-Acre Local Solar Project

The Central Valley’s Westside continues to get new large solar farm applications that include two new projects totaling near 400 megawatts (MW) in Fresno County – both in the Westlands Water District.

On land leased from the Woolf family, the county is processing an application to build a 1,600-acre solar project near the Kings/Fresno county line. A scoping session is planned for 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27, at Keenan Community Center in Huron.

German-based EC&R Solar Development, LLC has submitted three conditional use permit applications to allow the construction and operation of a 150 MW solar PV generation facility, a 20 MW solar PV generation facility and a 20 MW energy storage facility. The parent company is one of the largest investor-owned utilities in the world.

The project site, called Fifth Standard Solar Project Complex, is located on 12 parcels totaling 1,593 acres, west of South Lassen Avenue and north of West Jayne Avenue – about 3 miles south of Huron.

Like many recent applications, this project will have a storage component. Storage systems can assist grid operators in more effectively integrating intermittent renewable resources into the statewide grid and assist utilities to meet energy storage goals mandated by the California Public Utilities Commission, says the application. A 20 MW energy storage facility, on five acres, with a four-hour discharge duration would be constructed.

The applicant – E.ON Climate & Renewables (EC&R), headquartered in Essen, Germany – currently operates over 9 GW of renewable capacity including large hydro. Since its formation in 2007, EC&R has invested more than 9 billion Euros, including more than $5 billion in the U.S. solar and wind facilities. It owns a 20MW project in Southern California.

The second utility-scale project is the Little Bear Solar Project involving a 180 MW PV electricity generating facilities. The solar facility would consist of up to five individual facilities including an Energy Storage System. The project would connect to PG&E’s Mendota substation.

Last year, the developer of Little Bear – First Solar announced it had pre-sold 40 MW to a large community solar provider, MCE, based in the Bay Area. A not-for-profit, community-based electricity provider, MCE offers its customer base an opportunity to source 50 to 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources like solar, wind and hydroelectricity at competitive rates throughout California. MCE also allows its customers to choose which kind of green energy they want, whether it be wind, solar or a combination without the initial high costs of leasing equipment and construction.

The Little Bear project, located on around 1,300 acres, is set to break ground in 2019 and should be complete by 2020. After that, MCE will have the option to expand – potentially growing to 160-megawatts in size, it said in 2016. Next door is the NorthStar solar project.

German Firm Plans 1,600-Acre Local Solar Project, by John Lindt, The Sentinel, September 21, 2017.

New Solar Project in Works

The permit pipeline for solar projects in Kings County keeps filling up with the latest filing by Apex Energy Solution for a 3-megawatt solar project to be built at 22868 Zenith Ave in Kettleman City on a 40-acre parcel. The applicant is based in Folsom. The project, located near the Kings/Kern line, also goes by the name of Leo Solar.

New Solar Project in Works, by John Lindt, The Sentinel, August 31, 2017.

Tulare Approves Kraft Solar Plant

The Tulare Planning Commission approved a plan submitted by Tesla Energy to build a 65-acre, 13.9 megawatt solar farm to supply electricity to the Kraft cheese plant along Highway 99 in Tulare.

The solar farm will have some 42,000 solar panels that track the sun and also include a 8.4 megawatt lithium-ion battery unit for energy storage when the sun is not shinning.

The project, on the western side of the Kraft building, will supply some 25 percent of the power needs at the big food processing facility.

Tulare Approves Kraft Solar Plant, by John Lindt, Visalia Times-Delta, September 1, 2017.

A New Net-Zero-Energy Community Is Coming to California’s Central Valley

As the state prepares for a new building code, this 36-unit development will shed light on how such homes benefit the grid and homeowners alike.

California’s largest net-zero-energy housing development is coming next year to the Central Valley.

Third-generation homebuilder De Young Properties unveiled the 36-unit project Tuesday in Clovis, northeast of Fresno. The company has spent years redesigning its signature floor plans to include cost-effective energy efficiency improvements. The goal is to minimize the building’s electrical load and install enough rooftop solar to cover what remains, matching consumption and production over the year.

In practice, that boils down to improvements in the building envelope, which keeps air conditioning in and summer heat out. That’s not so hard in temperate coastal zones, but it’s a whole different story in the sun-baked Central Valley, which was forecast to hit 108 degrees Tuesday.

California is driving new home construction to net-zero energy by 2020 through the building code, as part of a broader climate goal to cut greenhouse gases from its economy. The first homes in De Young’s EnVision community will be completed in Q2 2018.

“We know that at some point the state will require everyone to do this. Why not learn it ahead of time, get used to it and figure out how to bring costs down earlier?” said Executive Vice President Brandon De Young. “You’re spending less on your energy bill, and the home’s going to be more comfortable as well.”

That quest has attracted some notable allies: Utility Pacific Gas & Electric and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) partnered in the endeavor to gather data on the energy improvements and the broader impact on the grid from this type of development.

All about the envelope

Achieving this level of load reduction requires a lot more than buying fancier appliances.

Reducing the energy load needed for climate control starts with higher density insulation, better insulated windows, an electric heat pump and high-efficiency air conditioning.

On top of that, De Young added a thicker frame by switching out 2×4 wall studs for 2×6 lumber. That simple change demanded redesign, re-engineering and re-permitting for all the plans.

The homes sit on concrete slabs, so the duct work for heating and cooling goes in the attic. Historically, attics haven’t been insulated, and can get up to well above the outside temperature in extreme heat. That means the HVAC system uses extra energy to counteract the heat that’s fighting its way into the ducts from the attic.

All that energy usage, by the way, makes it possible for homes in this area to pay $800 to $1,000 a month for the utility bill, De Young said.

His way out of the steamy attic scenario: Insulate the roof, rather than the ceiling. This extends the “thermal boundary” and buffers the existing ductwork against the outside heat; the attic stays pretty close to the temperature inside the living quarters.

Once all that is done, the designers size the solar capacity to match the total annual demand of the house. Homeowners will lease from SolarCity (now Tesla) or buy the system outright as an additional feature on the home.

Yes, but is it cost-effective?

De Young Properties has been iterating models of energy-efficient home packages since around 2009. Since then, De Young said, prices have come down for efficient components.

“The cost for upgraded windows in 2009 was a pretty significant premium,” he said. “If we included it, we had to market the heck out of it to make sure people knew they were buying a better product. Now the windows that were expensive then are pretty commonplace.”

The company built its first zero-net-energy pilot home in 2013 and has been optimizing design components to bring costs down since. The upfront premium for one of the new net-zero homes versus a comparable equivalent is down to single digits, De Young said.

Whether that investment succeeds in zeroing out energy bills will depend on a family’s consumption patterns, he cautioned (and there are fees that prevent anyone from truly getting to zero). If the monthly bill to beat is $1,000, though, it’s hard to see these homes not making a massive improvement for a resident’s energy budget.

EPRI’s role is to analyze the performance of the homes to verify the cost-effectiveness of the improvements.

“The ultimate goal is to achieve market transformation that leads to our decarbonization goals,” said EPRI principal program manager Ram Narayanamurthy. “Anytime we are trying to push the envelope as we are doing, we have to figure out what works and what doesn’t.”

That group’s work with an earlier net-zero home project built by Meritage in Fontana had a felicitous outcome. The extra cost to achieve net zero was less than $20,000, or about $8 per square foot, Narayanamurthy said. When you break that out into additional monthly mortgage payments versus energy bill savings, the customers save more than they spend.

De Young’s use of basic insulation materials in the attic to drive significant efficiency savings sets it up well for cost-effective performance, he added.

“It’s about how you rethink your standard practice,” Narayanamurthy said. “Once you move to the new normal, it’s really not that much more expensive.”

A duck curve in every kitchen

PG&E’s involvement may come as more of a surprise, given that an aim of net-zero homes is to minimize the net flow of money from customers to their electric utility.

Under current regulatory policy, though, PG&E doesn’t make a profit on kilowatt-hours sold, said Peter Turnbull, the zero net energy program manager there. Regulators have tasked the utility with increasing both renewable generation and energy conservation, and the De Young project is a test case for both.

Plus, the utility also has a stake in understanding what an influx of net-zero houses means for grid integration.

“Until you actually do it, there are some unknowns,” Turnbull said.

Each house will generate its own family-sized duck curve: demand in the morning before work, then an abundance of solar production for the middle of the day and an evening peak as the sun tapers off and residents arrive home after work.

Since these homes aren’t configured with battery storage, they could push a lot of kilowatts onto the grid at the same time as all the other solar generation rushes onto the grid. Then again, if the smart appliances and HVAC systems can crank at midday to take advantage of the surplus power, they could prevent irksome solar dumps on the wires.

The total load of these homes will be considerably smaller than equivalent-sized homes without the net-zero makeover, so that should minimize the broader impact as well.

There are enough variables here to demand a proper study before drawing conclusions. There’s a little over two years left to learn before this becomes standard practice across the world’s sixth-largest economy.

A New Net-Zero-Energy Community Is Coming to California’s Central Valley, by Julian Spector, GreenTech Media, August 29, 2017.

CALSTART Project Manager to Lead New Northern San Joaquin Valley Office

CALSTART is making plans to open a second office in California’s San Joaquin Valley and has an immediate opening for a highly motivated person to join our team as a Project Manager. This is an exciting time for building the clean transportation technology industry, and this is a unique opportunity to help improve air quality, prevent climate change and create jobs. The Project Manager will work with Joseph Oldham, CALSTART’s Director of the San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center, who opened our first Valley office in Fresno about two years ago. This position will be based in the Northern part of the Valley, where CALSTART will open a second office to develop and manage high-impact clean transportation projects. The Project Manager, which is a full-time position with a strong compensation package, will be responsible for opening and managing CALSTART’s second office in the Northern part of the region.

CALSTART sees significant opportunities to work with its member companies and partners in the San Joaquin Valley to expand the use of cleaner and lower carbon cars, trucks, buses and fuels. CALSTART is recognized nationally and internationally as an effective industry catalyst organization. If you want a career where you are making a real impact and benefiting both society and the environment, consider coming to work for CALSTART.

For a complete job description, necessary skills and experience, and application information, please go to our website.

Voters of Color in California Polled: 74% think climate change is a serious problem facing the state

Climate change will effect us all, but it hits people of color hard in many ways. On August 22nd, KQED’s California Report released the results of a poll conducted by EMC Research of Oakland: out of 800 voters of color, 74% think climate change is a serious problem facing California.

To create questions for the poll EMC enlisted help from people like Veronica Garibay, Co-Director of the Leadership Council for Justice and Accountability, which does neighborhood organizing in the San Joaquin and Coachella Valleys. Previous polls have not focused on people of color and Garibay thinks that this confirms what community residents have been saying in inland regions of the state, throughout the state by people of color, communities of color, and lower-income communities that are feeling the impacts of climate change.

Along with releasing the results from the poll, Garibay said that a document will also be released identifying what climate justice is. Included in this document will be recommendations that different regions of the state conduct with vulnerability assessments to outline the threats they face from climate change and opportunities for change in those areas. In Fresno County, the Leadership Council has been working with community leaders to increase access to the city of Fresno. This partnership has worked to create a rural rideshare program that will use electric vehicles built and designed by the community and charged at charging stations located within the community. By incentivizing the use of electric vehicles, they hope to promote better air quality and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as to bring solutions to the rest of the state.

Source: The California Report – Audio version

In August 2016, Clean Power Exchange conducted a survey of voters in the San Joaquin Valley and found that a majority of Valley residents want clean, locally-produced electricity, and a choice in service providers.

Voters of Color in California Polled: 74% think climate change is a serious problem facing the state, by Ross Markey, Clean Power Exchange, August 23, 2017.