Riverside Solar Energy Systems Now Generating Over 30 Megawatts
Riverside, Calif. – Fifteen years ago, solar generation in Riverside amassed to just 151.2 kilowatts as a solar carport structure at Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) operation center came online. Today, more than 2,190 solar generation projects in the city have pushed that number past 30 megawatts (MW) confirming Riverside’s place as a leading solar city in the state.
“It is easy to pledge to become one of the state’s leading solar communities,” said Mayor Rusty Bailey. “But without the commitments of the city, the utility, and the residents of Riverside taking action to make that pledge a reality, we would never have surpassed our goals this soon.”
In 2005, the city’s Green Action Committee set an ambitious goal for Riverside to install at least 20 MW of solar generation by 2020. Through utility backed projects at city sites and residential and commercial solar rebate programs, that goal was met, and surpassed well ahead of schedule.
Last year the utility added an additional 7.5 MW of local solar generation to its totals through a partnership with Sun Power, LLC when it turned the Tequesquite Landfill site, located on the western edge of the city along the Santa Ana River, into one of the largest solar generation sites in the city.
“Projects like these not only provide great environmental benefits for Riverside, they also help us to meet our state-mandated goals for renewable energy,” said the city’s Sustainability Officer Michael Bacich.
State mandates now require energy utilities to receive 50 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2030. RPU has proactively been adding wind, geothermal and hydroelectric power contracts in addition to their investments in solar generation facilities throughout California.
In 2015, the utility received approximately 22 percent of its total power mix from eligible renewable resources, with solar making up about three percent of that total. As of July, RPU now gets 7.5 MW from Tequesquite; 20 MW from a Hemet solar farm; 11 MW from a solar farm located in Kern County, CA; as well as 14 MW from a plant in Rosamond, CA and 10 MW from a facility in Lancaster, CA, which are shared with other Southern California Public Power Association (SCPPA) member utilities.
RPU, and its SCPPA partner utilities, also have stakes in two additional solar generation facilities located in Lancaster: one that comes online at the end of August that will add 10 MW to Riverside’s totals; and another that will provide an additional 25 MW by the end of January 2017. Riverside has forecast that by the end of 2017, solar will make up nearly 12 percent of its total power mix.
Established in 1895, Riverside Public Utilities is a consumer-owned water and electric utility that provides high quality, reliable services to over 108,000 metered electric customers and up to 67,000 metered water customers throughout the City of Riverside. The Utility is committed to increased use of renewable energy resources and sustainable living practices that help reduce environmental impacts within the City of Riverside and the state of California.