The Little Bear Solar Complex in Fresno County Began Serving Customers in December, 2020
SAN RAFAEL and CONCORD, Calif. – MCE and Longroad Energy are excited to announce the completion of 160 megawatts of new solar power, enough to serve 65,000 homes each year. The Little Bear solar complex is located in Fresno County, California and consists of four separate solar facilities that represent MCE’s largest collection of solar projects to date. All four projects began commercial operation in December 2020, and will serve MCE customers under long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs). The projects are jointly owned by Longroad and two Danish pension funds, PKA and PenSam, represented by their investment manager AIP. The complex consists of four individual facilities, ranging from approximately 150 to 450 acres, on a total of over 1,200 acres of private land.
The Little Bear solar complex design reflects key environmental considerations including utilizing land that was disturbed or previously degraded and leveraging existing electrical distribution and transmission facilities, rights-of-way, roads and other infrastructure. These practices reduce impacts to local land and water resources. In addition, the project will contribute approximately $2 million in sales tax for Fresno County, as well as over $1,000,000 in property taxes over the first decade of operation. The total project costs were approximately $320 million, adding to MCE’s over $1.6 billion invested in new California renewable projects.
“MCE is grateful to partner with Longroad Energy and AIP on the Little Bear solar complex,” said Dawn Weisz, MCE CEO. “This project demonstrates MCE’s mission in action by reducing energy-related greenhouse gases, while providing jobs and economic growth in California.”
The Little Bear projects represented roughly 500 new jobs, and over 380,000 labor hours during the construction phase. The project was constructed under Project Labor Agreements including union labor from Operating Engineers Local 3, the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council, the Northern California District Council of Laborers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 100 and the Ironworkers Local 155. This project will provide clean energy for approximately 65,000 homes each year, reducing the carbon footprint of MCE customers and the California electric grid.
“MCE’s customers have made the important choice to consume carbon-free electricity, and we are pleased to accommodate them via the Little Bear projects,” said Michael Alvarez, Longroad COO. “These projects are responsibly developed, constructed, and operated, backed by long-term PPAs and powered by innovative solar technology designed in America, and are important additions to Longroad’s growing portfolio in the United States.”
Additional information about the project can be found in previous press releases: Longroad Acquirer of Four California Projects from First Solar, and Longroad Energy Completes Financing for 215 MWdc Little Bear Solar Projects.
As California’s first Community Choice Aggregation Program, MCE is a groundbreaking, not-for-profit, public agency that has been setting the standard for energy innovation in our communities since 2010. MCE offers cleaner power at stable rates, significantly reducing energy-related greenhouse emissions and enabling millions of dollars of reinvestment in local energy programs. MCE is a load-serving entity supporting a 1,200 MW peak load. MCE provides electricity service to more than 480,000 customer accounts and more than one million residents and businesses in 36 member communities across four Bay Area counties: Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, and Solano.
About Longroad Energy Holdings, LLC
Longroad Energy Holdings, LLC is focused on renewable energy project development, operating assets, and services. Today, Longroad owns over 1.4 GW of operational and under construction wind and solar projects across the United States. Its services affiliate, Longroad Energy Services, operates and manages 2.9 GW in total comprised of these projects plus 1.5 GW of wind and solar projects on behalf of third parties. Longroad is owned by the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, Infratil Limited, and Longroad’s management team.
PKA is one of the largest pension service providers in Denmark. Their 320,000 members work primarily in the public sector. PKA invests approximately DKK 300 billion ($43.3 billion) on behalf of their members. PKA has a special focus on investing in projects that help to mitigate the effects of climate change and has a positive impact on society. They have invested approximately DKK 30 billion ($4.3 billion) in climate-related projects.
PenSam is a Danish labor market pension fund managing occupational schemes for people within eldercare, cleaning, technical service, and pedagogical care in Danish municipalities, regions, and private companies, combining a total members base of 417,000. On their behalf PenSam invest approximately DKK 135 billion ($19.8 billion).
AIP Management is a Danish investment manager dedicated to investing into energy and infrastructure assets in Europe and the US. To date, AIP has invested more than USD 4 billion, primarily in assets that contribute to the green energy transition, including six European offshore wind farms, three onshore wind farms in Sweden and the US, as well as in four large solar power plants in California and Texas. The target for the coming years is to invest more than USD 1 billion per year.
For more information, please visit aipmanagement.dk.