SolarCity lands renewable federal power contract in California, Nevada

A contract for the federal government’s first-ever joint solar power procurement in California and Nevada has been awarded to San Mateo, Calif.-based SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY).

The General Services Administration (GSA), which manages federal buildings, announced the power purchase agreement (PPA) Dec. 15 in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and U.S. Forest Service.

The PPA was awarded as part of the Federal Aggregated Solar Procurement Pilot (FASPP) — a strategic sourcing project that combines several small to mid-size photovoltaic (PV) installation opportunities within northern California and northern Nevada into a single procurement.

The procurement pilot was announced by the federal government in April.

The FASPP is one of six programs selected as part of the White House GreenGov Spotlight Communities Program administered by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Initially, the project will produce up to 5 MW of solar power across the multiple sites in California and Nevada and has the potential to serve as a model for how federal entities nationwide can partner to procure renewable energy.

Initial contract will be for 10 years

The initial contract term is 10 years with an option for an additional 10 years.  The contract requires the PV systems be installed and operational by the end of 2016.

Systems will be a mixture of rooftop, ground-mounted, and parking lot canopies.

The pilot is a contracting solution designed to take advantage of economies of scale in solar installation with no up-front cost to the government, the agencies said in a news release.

Under this PPA, SolarCity Corporation will install and operate the PV systems, spanning nine federal sites in San Jose, Menlo Park, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Bruno, Santa Rosa, Vallejo, Carson City and Reno, and sell power by the kilowatt-hour to the federal government.

The organizations said the multi-agency energy procurement will not only save the government $5m in energy cost, it will also help achieve the Obama administration’s 2025 Renewable Energy Goal as outlined in Executive Order 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.

“This initiative is a great way to showcase how the federal government is leading by example and taking advantage of the incredible opportunities to build a clean energy economy, especially given the historic agreement in Paris, ” said Federal Chief Sustainability Officer, Christine Harada:.”

“The federal government is the single largest energy consumer in the nation and GSA, as its landlord and realtor, has a responsibility to lead by example in energy and sustainability,” said GSA Acting Senior Sustainability Officer Kevin Kampschroer.

“This project exemplifies the President’s call for federal agencies to increase their renewable electricity portfolios to 30% by 2025 and leverage their combined purchasing power,” said EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest, Jared Blumenfeld.

EPA convened a team of federal offices interested in procuring renewable energy produced at their facilities. GSA agreed to provide contracting and project management support. DOE’s Federal Energy Management Program, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory provided technical expertise and support. The Forest Service and GSA plan to host the solar systems and buy the renewable energy.

FASPP will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide over the contract period.

The nine project locations in northern California and northern Nevada include: Regional Office Building in Vallejo, Calif. (U.S. Forest Service); Robert F. Peckham Federal Building in San Jose, Calif. (GSA); John F. Shea Federal Building in Santa Rosa, Calif. (GSA); Federal Building at 2800 Cottage Way in Sacramento, Calif. (GSA); Leo J. Ryan Federal Records Center in San Bruno, Calif. (GSA); U.S. Geological Survey Campus in Menlo Park, Calif. (GSA); James R. Browning U.S. Courthouse in San Francisco, Calif. (GSA); C. Clifton Young Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Reno, Nev. (GSA); and the Carson City Federal Building in Carson City, Nev. (GSA).

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at