Sun shines on new Richmond solar facility

Sun shines on new Richmond solar facility

Today, local officials cut ribbon on a 2-megawatt, ground-mounted solar system on Goodrick Avenue in Richmond — just north of Richmond Parkway — that can power up to 600 homes annually.

Freethy Industrial Park Solar is the latest of several recent renewable energy projects launched in partnerships between local clean energy provider Marin Clean Energy (MCE) and business owners in Richmond, Marin and other jurisdictions of the state.

The program, Feed-In Tariff (FIT), encourages owners of unused or underutilized properties to own and operate renewable energy facilities and then sell electricity to MCE at a fixed, beneficial price for 20 years. The aim of the project is to encourage and ensure a growing local infrastructure and workforce for California’s renewable energy industry, according to MCE CEO Dawn Weisz (below, see Weisz speak in video from today’s press conference).

The Freethy facility on Goodrick Avenue is owned and operated by JHS Properties, which manages more than 500,000 square feet of office and industrial projects in Richmond and Marin. JHS Properties also runs a 1MW solar facility at San Rafael Airport in a similar partnership with MCE.

The Freethy site is the latest major solar project in Richmond. In late 2015, the city broke ground on the far larger 10MW Solar One Project, that is under development on 49 acres of land at Castro and Hensley streets. The land was leased to MCE by Chevron Richmond, and the solar facility will have the ability to power about 3,400 homes.

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt led his city’s effort to join MCE in 2013 and was also the first to approach JHS Properties about the Freethy Industrial Park project. The mayor called the 23-acre solar site “the latest to join a list of large scale solar projects that make Richmond a renewable energy leader in the state.”

The mayor also praised the local workforce that is being developed to install and maintain the city’s solar facilities. RichmondBUILD, a celebrated local job training program, has provided labor for both business and home solar projects in the city.

Below is a map of MCE’s new renewable energy projects throughout the state.