California’s Palo Alto introduces solar FIT program


The pilot feed-in tariff (FIT) program aims to install four megawatts (MW) of solar energy in 2012, which will be fed into to the city’s grid.

Both medium- and large-scale projects are planned. In turn, the City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) will purchase the locally-generated solar energy at a fixed rate. A minimum project size of 100 kilowatts (kW) has been set.

The rates of remuneration are:

  • 14.003 US cents per kilowatt hour (/kWh) for a 20 year contract
  • 13.216 US cents /kWh for a 15 year contract
  • 12.360 US cents /kWh for a 10 year contract

Applications for solar projects will begin to be accepted on April 2, while the first contract is expected to be awarded on May 1. Overall, contracts will be awarded at the end of each month.

If successful, CPAU says it will expand the program in 2013, and will consider including other renewable energies and increasing project sizes.

Yiaway Yeh, the Mayor of Palo Alto says the CLEAN program will help boost clean energy production, and will only add one penny to average utility bills each month. "The program is a major step towards meeting our goal of supplying 33 percent of our electricity with renewable energy by 2015 without significant rate increases," he adds.

Distributed solar

In other Californian solar news, PsomasFMG LLC and NRG Solar LLC have announced that they are working on an "initial" over 11 MW photovoltaic portfolio. All projects have secured a power purchase agreement with the facility owners.

While many of the project specifics have not been divulged, NRG did say that a 7.3 MW project will be installed in the William S. hart School District in Santa Clarita, and a 3.3 MW project will be undertaken together with the government agency of Orange County.

With regards to the 3.3 MW project, the company says that systems will be installed across five county facilities, including the Peace Officer’s Training Facility and County Registrar of Voters. Both ground-mounted systems and carport applications will be utilized.

For all the projects, PsomasFMG will design and manage the construction, through an EPC contractor, while NRG will supply the necessary equipment, including the photovoltaic panels and inverters. It will also provide financial resources. The amount was not disclosed, but NRG did say that the two parties will split revenues according to the contributions made for each project.

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