Leeward Renewable Energy Begins Construction on 100-megawatt Rabbitbrush Solar Project
Project will provide 20 MW, 50 MWh energy storage system bolstering grid reliability
Dallas, TX, Monterey, CA and Sunnyvale, CA – November 2, 2021 – Leeward Renewable Energy, Central Coast Community Energy (CCCE) and Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE), today announced that construction has commenced on the Rabbitbrush Solar project located in Kern County, California. Leeward previously signed two 15-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) with CCCE and SVCE.
McCarthy Building Companies, a national construction company serving as EPC (Engineer, Procure, Contractor) on the solar project, has initiated construction for the 100-megawatt (MW) Rabbitbrush facility, which also includes a 20 MW, 50 MWh battery energy storage system – bolstering the resiliency and reliability of the California energy grid. The project will consist of over 415,000 First Solar thin-film photovoltaic modules.
The Rabbitbrush Solar Project will bring significant economic investment to Kern County, including benefits for local businesses. It is expected to generate roughly 300 new union jobs secured under a project labor agreement, during construction, as well as long-term operations jobs. When fully operational, Rabbitbrush will generate enough clean solar energy to serve the needs of nearly 40,000 homes per year, displacing approximately 48,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually—the equivalent of taking 10,500 cars with internal combustion engines off the road.
“Starting construction on the Rabbitbrush facility is a monumental milestone for Leeward and is the first solar project we have constructed since integrating First Solar’s solar development platform in early 2021, with many more ahead,” said Jason Allen, Leeward’s Chief Executive Officer. “We are proud to partner with not-for-profit, community-owned electricity providers SVCE and CCCE to deliver clean, reliable renewable power to their customers and play a key role in advancing California’s zero carbon energy goals.”
“With our shared commitment to environmental standards as we accelerate California’s clean energy transition, we are excited to partner with Leeward and Silicon Valley Clean Energy on the California Rabbitbrush Solar Project,” shares Tom Habashi, CEO of Central Coast Community Energy. “This solar + storage project reaffirms CCCE’s goal of sourcing renewable energy on behalf of the Central Coast.”
“This project will contribute significantly to displacing greenhouse gas emissions, while providing clean energy jobs to Californians,” said Girish Balachandran, SVCE CEO. “Leeward and SVCE’s vision for this project align closely with our mission of providing communities with affordable, renewable electricity, while also helping to reliably transition to a clean grid.”
Construction on the Rabbitbrush Solar Project is expected to be completed by end of July 2022 and the facility is estimated to begin operation by the end of August 2022.
CCCE and SVCE are California Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs), procuring clean, renewable electricity and providing decarbonization program funding to 670,000 customers. As a new solar-plus-storage facility, the Rabbitbrush project will help the CCAs achieve their part of a recent order for the state to build at least 11.5 GW of new resources by 2026 (CPUC D.21-06-035).
About Central Coast Community Energy
Central Coast Community Energy is a public agency that sources competitively priced electricity from clean and renewable energy resources. CCCE is locally controlled and governed by board members who represent each community served by the agency. Revenue generated by CCCE stays local and helps keep electricity rates affordable for customers, while also funding innovative energy programs designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate economic development. CCCE serves more than 400,000 customers throughout the Central Coast, including residential, commercial and agricultural customers in communities located within Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more at 3CEnergy.org and on social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @3CEnergy.
About Leeward Renewable Energy, LLC
Leeward Renewable Energy is a leading renewable energy company that owns and operates a portfolio of 21 renewable energy facilities across nine states totaling approximately 2,000 megawatts of generating capacity. Leeward is actively developing new wind, solar, and energy storage projects in energy markets across the U.S., with 17 gigawatts under development spanning over 100 projects. Leeward is a portfolio company of OMERS Infrastructure, an investment arm of OMERS, one of Canada’s largest defined benefit pension plans with C$114 billion in net assets (as at June 30, 2021). For more information, visit www.leewardenergy.com.
About Silicon Valley Clean Energy
Silicon Valley Clean Energy is a not-for-profit, community-owned agency providing clean electricity from renewable and carbon-free sources to more than 270,000 residential and commercial customers in 13 Santa Clara County jurisdictions. As a public agency, net revenues are returned to the community to keep rates competitive and promote clean energy programs. Silicon Valley Clean Energy is advancing innovative solutions to fight climate change by decarbonizing the grid, transportation, and buildings. Learn more at SVCleanEnergy.org.
Silicon Valley Clean Energy Communication Specialist