The City of Fresno Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has conducted a ground-breaking ceremony for the development of its on-site solar energy and battery storage portfolio, which is now taking shape at three energy-intensive sites: the Fresno-Clovis Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility, the Northeast Surface Water Treatment Facility, and the Southeast Surface Water Treatment Facility.
DPU’s 27 MW DC behind-the-meter portfolio is being developed in partnership with ForeFront Power, a developer of solar energy and battery storage projects in the U.S. and Mexico, and the projects will be constructed by local union labor from the IBEW Local 100.
The projects are part of the City of Fresno’s comprehensive plan to lower its energy costs, bolster environmental resiliency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. At a time of rising electricity costs, these DPU projects will save the city an expected $100 million in taxpayer dollars by 2045. Development of the city’s solar and storage portfolio has created 192 local jobs, with the three DPU sites contributing 120 of these local jobs.
“We’re pleased to have helped the City of Fresno with this momentous expansion of its renewable energy assets,” says Rachel McLaughlin, senior vice president of sales and marketing at ForeFront Power. “It makes sense that with over 300 days of sunshine per year, the city is harnessing one of its most abundant resources to protect pocket books, the air, and the climate all at once.”
Under the terms of a PPA with the city, ForeFront Power will develop, own and maintain the solar and storage portfolio.
Each DPU site will feature ground-mounted solar energy arrays and single-axis trackers, with a combined output of 47 million kWh annually. When completed, the Fresno-Clovis Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility site is expected to be one of the largest behind-the-meter solar energy and battery storage projects in California, with 17 MW DC of solar and 2.3 MW DC of battery storage. Moreover, the City of Fresno will host the largest multi-campus solar energy and battery storage portfolio in the world, at 34 MW DC.
The DPU projects will complement the city’s completed behind-the-meter solar energy assets at the Fresno Convention Center, the Highway City Science Center, the Police Training Facility and Fresno Yosemite International Airport.