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Supervisor Gibson, District 2, cuts the ribbon on the solar system at the County Operations Center
The County celebrates the ribbon cutting of the solar system at the County Operations Center

The County of San Luis Obispo completes the largest solar project to date with ForeFront Power

Author: Public Works
Date: 4/20/2021 8:51:43 AM

The County of San Luis Obispo completes the largest solar project to date with ForeFront Power. The 1.2 MW ground-mounted solar system is expected to offset 10% of the County’s total energy usage with renewable energy


                                 

 

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- April 20, 2021 -- The County of San Luis Obispo and ForeFront Power today celebrated the completion of a 1.2 megawatts-DC (MWdc) solar energy project at the County Operations Center. Developed,  financed, owned, and operated by ForeFront Power, the project includes a total of 3,294 solar modules ground-mounted on 6 acres of land behind the County Honor Farm and parallel to Calif. State Highway 1.

The County Operations Center solar project will yield significant electricity savings and cost stability for the eight departments benefitting from the project. The County expects that, over the next 20 years, the project will offset nearly 74 million pounds of carbon dioxide, and yield an estimated $6 million in net savings, which will reduce the County's operating expenses and allow it to provide critical services to the community. The County Operations Center solar project aggregates electric meters from 12 County facilities, including the Main and Women’s Jail, Juvenile Services Center, Honor Farm, and other Sheriff, Public Works, Information Services, and Fleet facilities.

Beyond the planned energy cost savings, this project will also contribute to the County’s renewable energy procurement goals.

“This project is a significant step forward to reaching our County goal of procuring 20 percent of our energy from renewable sources,” said Annie Secrest, Energy and Water Coordinator for the County of San Luis Obispo. “With this project energized, the County now derives over 12 percent of its energy from solar power. This helps us mitigate increasing electricity rates and better control our operating expenses.”

The County Operations Center solar project also generates enough electricity to avoid an additional 1,735 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. This is roughly equivalent to removing 375 gas-powered passenger vehicles from the road annually, or to the amount of carbon sequestered by 2,266 acres of nearby forest in one year.

Through a power purchase agreement with ForeFront Power, the County will purchase the electricity generated by the County Operations Center at a set price per kilowatt-hour. This allows the County to purchase electricity at a lower rate than it could obtain from the local utility, and without incurring the upfront or ongoing costs for installing the solar project.

“We are pleased to have helped the County of San Luis Obispo reduce electricity costs through on-site solar generation," said Casey Miller, Project Manager, Project Development, at ForeFront Power. “Together with our two previously installed canopy systems, the County Operations Center solar project adds more clean, renewable energy to help the County achieve its long-term energy and climate goals.”

Prior to the County Operations Center, ForeFront Power energized the County of San Luis Obispo’s first two solar energy projects in 2020. These two solar canopy systems total 552 kilowatts (kW) and are designed to supply over 80% of site electricity needs at the County’s Department of Parks and Recreation’s Dairy Creek Golf Course and El Chorro Regional Park, and the Department of Social Services.

Across all three of the projects, ForeFront Power utilized local labor for the vast majority of construction, which was an important aspect of these projects for the County.

 

Simplified Sourcing through a California Joint Powers Authority

The County of San Luis Obispo selected ForeFront Power through the Renewable Energy Aggregated Procurement (REAP) Program offered by SPURR, a California Joint Powers Authority dedicated to simplifying the electricity procurement process for California’s public agencies. REAP allows any California public agency to obtain the best solar and energy storage pricing and terms from a competitive statewide solicitation. Over 40 California public agencies have used REAP to develop hundreds of megawatts of solar and storage projects to date.

 

About the County of San Luis Obispo

The County of San Luis Obispo government is one of the original 27 counties in California. The County's 3,300 square miles and 100 miles of coastline are divided into five supervisory districts each represented by an elected official who serves on the Board of Supervisors. The County government is one of the largest employers in San Luis Obispo County and provides more than 700 public services. For more information, visit www.slocounty.ca.gov

 

About ForeFront Power

ForeFront Power is a leader in the United States for solar and energy storage solutions. The ForeFront Power team holds more than a decade of experience working together across nearly one gigawatt-DC (GW) of renewable electricity, spanning more than 1,300 distributed generation and community solar projects. Serving business, the public sector, and community solar customers in the U.S. and Mexico, ForeFront Power is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in New York City and Mexico City. ForeFront Power is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsui & Co. Ltd., a global energy infrastructure and investment leader with a robust balance sheet and an “A” credit rating from Standard & Poor’s. For more information, visit forefrontpower.com.

 

About SPURR and the REAP Program

SPURR is a Joint-Powers Authority duly formed and existing under the California Joint Exercise of Powers Act. SPURR was formed to seek reduction and control of utility rates on behalf of its members and other program participants. SPURR is governed by a Board of Directors who are management-level employees of member organizations. SPURR, with over 240 member organizations, aggregates purchasing power and expertise for thousands of public agency facilities across the state of California. SPURR programs include procurement of solar and energy storage, natural gas, electricity, LED lights and controls, utilities data management and conservation services, electricity demand response, and telecommunications and networking goods and services.

 

Press Contacts

James Cortese

Gryphon Agency for ForeFront Power

[email protected]

 

Annie Secrest

Energy & Water Coordinator

County of San Luis Obispo

[email protected]