Developer, labor plan announced for 49.5-acre Richmond solar farm

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Developer, union plan announced for 49.5-acre Richmond solar project
A ribbon-cutting for the MCE Solar One Project last year involving MCE, Chevron and city of Richmond officials.

A developer and union labor plan has been unveiled for the 49.5-acre, 10.5 MW solar project at a site provided by Chevron Richmond.

MCE, the nonprofit, public power agency that partners with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to provide renewable energy to customers, including in Richmond, announced it has teamed with solar developer Cenergy Power to build MCE Solar One, the largest publicly-owned solar project in the Bay Area. The project is located near Castro and Hensley streets.

The solar farm includes constructing about 80,000 ground-mounted solar panels that have the ability to power about 3,400 homes and is expected to support 341 jobs.

Last week, representatives from the city of Richmond, MCE, Cenergy and RichmondBUILD — a local job training program — met to announce the project’s local labor plan. Half of hires for the project must be local, according to an agreement between the city and MCE.

The labor plan includes a subcontractor list of six companies — three from Richmond, two from Martinez and one from Monterey. 

The Solar One project is “expected to employ workers for an estimated 69,000 man hours with 60-percent or more expected to be provided through union labor and 50-percent or more through local labor,” according to a statement by MCE.

The project is estimated to eliminate nearly 10,000 metric tons of CO2 per year for the 25 years, equivalent to removing 2,081 cars from the road for each year of operation, project officials said last year.

Creation of the solar farm is part of the community benefits agreement reached between the city and Chevron in connection with the $1 billion Refinery Modernization Project. Chevron leased the former, underutilized brownfield site to Marin Clean Energy (MCE) for 25 years at an extremely low rate, with a five-year extension option.

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