Construction starts on 100-MW California solar + storage project

Construction has commenced on the Rabbitbrush Solar project located in Kern County, California. Leeward Renewable Energy is developing the project and signed two 15-year power purchase agreements with Central Coast Community Energy (CCCE) and Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE).

McCarthy Building Companies is handling EPC services for the 100-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.

“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, CEO of Leeward. “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.”

The project is expected to create 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.

“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.”

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.

“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.”

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 + 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.

News item from Leeward Renewable Energy

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