Construction has begun on the Fresno Disadvantaged Community (DAC) Solar Farm, the largest community solar project in California and the first utility-scale solar farm in the Fresno area. The 10 MW system will directly provide energy cost savings to qualified low-income residents under PG&E’s Disadvantaged Communities Green Tariff (DAC-GT) program. The project is made possible by a close partnership between White Pine Renewables and the City of Fresno.
The Fresno DAC Community Solar Project enables income-qualified, residential customers who may not be able to install rooftop solar to access utility-scale clean energy and receive a discount on their utility bills.
The Fresno DAC Community Solar Farm in Council District 3 is a perfect case study for creating equity in the new green economy through public-private partnerships that benefit all Fresno residents. In short, it’s the type of solar development where everyone wins,” commented Council Member Miguel Arias.
Qualifying low-income Fresno residents will save 20% on their energy bills when they subscribe to the Fresno DAC Community Solar Farm. PG&E automatically subscribes to qualified customers.
The solar farm is located on 76 acres of underutilized land owned by the City of Fresno. City revenues from the parcel are expected to increase due to higher rents from solar plant operators.
The project, initiated by former City Councilman Larry Westerlund, project owner AB CarVal and project developer White Pine Renewables, in partnership with solar nonprofit GRID Alternatives, provided a free solar installation course and job fair. local low-income job seekers, some of whom live in Southwest Fresno.
“AB CarVal and White Pine proved their commitment to developing an inclusive solar workforce as key partners in our recent training in Fresno,” said Karina Gonzalez, CEO of GRID Alternatives Central Valley. “Their team advocated for our program graduates as they sought employment, and the resulting employment far exceeded our expectations.”
Nearly 70% of GRID program participants have already secured work with regional subcontractors for the AB CarVal and White Pine deployments and other local solar companies. Several graduates now work at Fresno’s DAC Community Solar Farm, where all workers earn the prevailing local wage.
“We are extremely grateful to our many partners for their support and creativity in this deeply collaborative, multi-faceted initiative,” said Evan Riley, co-founder of White Pine Renewables. “The Fresno DAC Community Solar Farm is the first project of its kind in California, but it won’t be the last. Our collective success has enabled White Pine to develop utility-scale, equitable community solar projects across the state.”
Fresno’s DAC Community Solar Farm is expected to break ground by the end of 2023. Once complete, the system will contain more than 25,000 solar panels, producing enough energy to power about 2,700 homes.
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