First Solar, Inc. and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), in California (USA), have announced the formal execution of a power purchase agreement (PPA) for offtake of a 10.8 megawatt solar project to be built on the site of the decommissioned Rancho Seco Nuclear Generation Station.
The Rancho Seco Solar Project will annually generate more than 22,000 MWh of clean, renewable energy, which will be offered to SMUD business customers through the utility's Commercial SolarShares program, helping them achieve sustainability goals while reducing their need to purchase fossil-fuel generated power at peak demand hours. The new Golden 1 Center is the first announced customer that will receive electricity generated by Rancho Seco.
Brian Kunz, First Solar's Vice President of Project Development - US West, said:
"We are excited to be working on this project, which provides access to solar power for businesses that might not otherwise be able to include it in their energy procurement strategies due to cost, lack of available rooftop space or other factors. SMUD's innovative SolarShares program exemplifies how a utility can serve its community in both environmentally and economically favorable ways."
Frankie McDermott, SMUD Chief Generation and Grid Assets Officer, said:
"SMUD is a leader in delivering renewable energy to our customers. This project will further enhance the renewable aspect our power mix, which is already about 50 percent non-carbon-emitting, helping us meet our Board of Directors' and the state's carbon objectives. The use of previously-developed land at Rancho Seco and existing SMUD-owned power lines also provides significant environmental benefit."
The Rancho Seco Solar Project is situated on 60 acres of SMUD-owned property including the location of the decommissioned Rancho Seco Nuclear Generation Station. The property also originally hosted a 1980s-era 3.2MW SMUD solar array, one of the first utility-scale solar power plants in the world. Construction of the new Rancho Seco Solar Project is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2015, with commercial operation beginning in mid-2016.