Construction is under way on the Fresno Disadvantaged Community (DAC) Solar Farm. The largest shared solar project for disadvantaged communities in California is also the first utility-scale solar farm within Fresno.
The 10 MW system will provide energy-cost savings directly to qualifying low-income residents under Pacific Gas & Electric‘s (PG&E) Disadvantaged Communities Green Tariff (DAC-GT) program. A close collaboration between White Pine Renewables and the City of Fresno made the project possible.
“The Fresno DAC Community Solar Farm is the perfect case study of ensuring equity in the new green economy through public-private partnerships that benefit all Fresno residents. In short, it’s the type of solar development where everyone wins,” says Miguel Arias, the city council member representing District 3, where the project is located.
Qualified low-income residents of Fresno will save 20% on their energy bills when subscribed to the Fresno DAC Community Solar Farm. PG&E automatically subscribes qualifying customers.
The solar power plant is located on an underutilized 76-acre parcel owned by the City of Fresno. Operations are expected to begin by the end of this year. Once complete, the system will contain more than 25,000 solar panels, which will produce enough energy to power approximately 2,700 homes.
Former city council member Larry Westerlund initiated the project. In tandem with the groundbreaking, the project’s owner, AB CarVal, and its developer, White Pine Renewables, partnered with GRID Alternatives Central Valley, a solar nonprofit, to provide a free solar installation training course and job fair to local low-income jobseekers.
Nearly 70% of the participants in GRID’s program have already secured jobs with AB CarVal and White Pine’s regional installation subcontractors and other local solar companies. Several graduates are now employed at the Fresno DAC Community Solar Farm, where all workers receive a local prevailing wage.
“We are tremendously grateful to our many partners for their support and creativity in this deeply collaborative, multi-faceted initiative,” says Evan Riley, co-founder of White Pine Renewables. “The Fresno DAC Community Solar Farm is the first project of its kind in California, but it will not be the last. Our collective success has yielded a blueprint for White Pine to develop equitable utility-scale community solar projects across the state.”