Riverside’s newest solar installation was completed by SunPower on the city’s former Tequesquite Landfill. When the landfill project being operational, the city now generates solar power from more than 20MW of solar installations – the goal was achieved five years ahead of schedule.
Riverside’s prior Mayer, Ronald O. Loveridge, formed the Clean & Green Task Force, which aimed to deploy at least 20MW of solar generation by 2020. The 20-MW milestone was reached five years ahead of the original schedule, representing the city’s commitment to create a greener and more sustainable world.
"Riverside reaching the 20MW milestone is especially impressive because it was not too long ago that one megawatt was an ambitious goal," said the Mayor Rusty Bailey.
The new 7.5-MW Tequesquite Landfill solar farm, created in partnership with Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) and SunPower helped the city reach, and surpass that 20-MW goal. The Tequesquite Landfill solar farm is powered by SunPower high efficient solar panels.
"We've come a long way from our first solar generation project [a carport shade system at the Utilities Operation Center constructed in 2001] to the nearly 1,700 systems that are online in Riverside today," said the City's Sustainability Officer Michael Bacich.
SunPower built the system as part of a 25-year power purchase agreement under which RPU will buy the power generated by the plant at rates that are competitive with retail electricity, minimizing the effect of rising electricity costs. The system is owned by 8Point3 Energy Partners LP, the YieldCo joint venture formed by SunPower and First Solar. The City of Riverside is retaining the renewable energy credits associated with the system.
Initially, solar projects in Riverside were funded by RPU and placed on city sites including low-income housing; senior centers; pool facilities, and even atop city hall, until RPU began its residential solar rebate program in 2003 and commercial rebate program in 2008.
Participation was sluggish at first, but by 2012 Riverside solar projects were generating over 5 MW, which grew to 10 MW just two years later. As technologies improved, costs lowered, and additional incentives from the state became available, participation levels grew exponentially. So much so that for the past two years RPU's solar fund reservations have closed within the first day they come available.