Utilities News

Palo Alto Adds Two New Large-Scale Solar Projects, 60 MW to Renewable Energy Portfolio

Solar energy now supplying one-third of Palo Alto’s total electric needs each year!

Palo Alto Adds Two New Large-Scale Solar Projects, 60 MW to Renewable Energy Portfolio

News Release - December 21, 2016 – The City of Palo Alto Utilities announced today that two new large-scale solar projects have begun commercial operation, adding another 60 megawatts (MW) of clean, renewable energy to its carbon neutral electric resources portfolio. The City has more than 150 MW of solar power commitments throughout California.  By bringing these facilities online, solar energy will now supply about one-third of Palo Alto’s total electricity needs on an annual basis.

With the addition of renewable energy from these projects, the City is on track to reach a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of up to 60 percent in 2017. For comparison, in 2015 California adopted one of the most aggressive RPS policies in the country, requiring that all utilities in the state supply 50 percent of their retail electric sales from eligible renewable energy resources by the year 2030. Palo Alto has also adopted a Sustainability and Climate Action Plan that targets a greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 80 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2030.

“The City is committed to delivering reliable, affordable and environmentally-friendly power,” said Ed Shikada, assistant city manager and general manager of Utilities. “Adding these solar projects to our diverse electric supply portfolio is in line with our sustainability values and helps us move closer to the ultimate goal of 100 percent carbon free electricity. I am also proud to say that through these long-term contracts, we continue to put our customers’ best financial interests first, as the rates we are paying for the energy are some of the lowest we have ever seen.”

The City’s electricity supply has been 100 percent carbon neutral since 2013 when the City signed long-term contracts for clean energy resources, including solar, wind, hydroelectric generation and renewable gas from landfills. However, Palo Alto’s utility rates have remained extremely competitive with surrounding areas.  

The 40 MW Elevation Solar C and 20 MW Western Antelope Blue Sky Ranch B solar farms located in Lancaster, California, are developed, owned and operated by sPower, a leading independent renewable energy provider. Palo Alto is purchasing all 60 MW of solar energy produced at these facilities under 25-year power purchase agreements. The two facilities represent a significant portion of the nearly 500 MW of new renewable projects that sPower will bring online in the last quarter of the year, expanding its portfolio to more than a gigawatt of operating projects. 

“We are pleased to be able to support the City of Palo Alto’s objective to deliver renewable energy at competitive rates while adding to its carbon-neutral electric resources. The City has been an outstanding organization to work with,” said Hans Isern, EVP, Utility Power Marketing. “While we are always happy to connect new projects to the grid, we are especially proud of the fact that Elevation Solar C is sPower’s largest organic, self-generated power purchase agreement to date. It’s another key milestone for our company.”


About the City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU):
The City of Palo Alto is the only municipality in California operating a full suite of utility services, including water, wastewater, electric and fiber optics, natural gas, refuse and storm drain services.  For more about CPAU’s solar programs, visit www.cityofpaloalto.org/solar.


About sPower: 
Headquartered in Salt Lake City, with offices in San Francisco, Long Beach and New York City, sPower is a leading independent power producer (IPP) that owns and/or operates more than 150 utility and commercial distributed electrical generation systems across the United States and the UK. http://www.spower.com/ Contact:  Naomi Keller, VP Marketing at nkeller@sPower.com

Last Updated: December 28, 2016