The board of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District has approved the construction of a 10.88 MW solar power array at Rancho Seco, a 62-acre property it owns, according to The Sacramento Bee. The SMUD formerly ran a nuclear power plant at the site.
The project will feature a 20-year purchase agreement with FirstSolar, which will own the structure and oversee construction. Work will begin in the third quarter of next year. The power bought from the array will be used in SMUD’s commercial SolarShares program.
California’s publicly owned utilities (POU) are active. An analysis of the Natural Resources Defense Council shows that the state’s POUs saved energy equivalent to 1 percent of their total sales. This is a benchmark commonly used to evaluate energy efficiency, according a blog post by Christa Heavey, a MAP Sustainable Energy Fellow. She posted a blog of the topic at the NRDC site.
The savings in 2014 were the second highest on record. POU customers’ saved more than $300 million. The two largest POUs – The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and SMUD — dominated the savings. Other POUs were not as successful, though some exceeded the 1 percent benchmark.