EBMUD solar project expected to offset 10 percent of current energy costs

Photos courtesy of East Bay Municipal Utility District.

The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) in Oakland, California, recently announced the installation of its largest solar facility. Designed, built, owned and operated by TotalEnergies, the 4.6 MW project will supply the water agency with approximately 10 million kilowatt-hours of clean solar energy per year.

EBMUD partnered with TotalEnergies on the Orinda Photovoltaic Solar Energy Project (“Orinda PV”), under a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in an effort to significantly offset EBMUD’s greenhouse gas emissions and advance the utility’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2030. 

“The Orinda PV project represents a leap in EBMUD’s clean energy production and supports our mission to deliver safe and affordable drinking water while protecting the environment,” said EBMUD General Manager Clifford Chan. “We believe investing in a sustainable future is the right thing to do for our customers and our planet, not only for today but for future generations.”

Orinda PV contains more than 12,000 thousand high-efficiency panels mounted on single-axis trackers that maximize energy production on the 12-acre site. The site’s landscaping incorporates vegetative screening that minimizes the PV system’s visibility from nearby nature trails and the Briones Reservoir, a popular recreation area. 

“We applaud EBMUD for investing in clean energy to pursue impressive carbon neutrality goals,” said Eric Potts, Vice President of TotalEnergies Renewables USA. “As a top solar developer in the U.S. and globally, we help utilities such as EBMUD leverage solar power to achieve their sustainability targets and reduce their long-term energy costs.” 

The Orinda PV project is expected to offset 10 percent of EBMUD’s current energy costs. The PV system will be interconnected with the local utility grid under PG&E’s Renewable Energy Self-Generation Bill Credit Transfer (RES-BCT) Program, which allows the electricity generated by the project to offset energy consumed from up to 50 of the EBMUD’s electrical accounts with PG&E. The project’s location next to PG&E’s Sobrante Substation reduces the costs and impacts of interconnection with the electricity grid.

The Orinda PV project will supply EBMUD with power at a fixed price that will provide $26 million in energy cost savings to EBMUD ratepayers over the 25-year contract term.

This solar installation adds to EBMUD’s other renewable energy projects, including 40 MW of hydroelectric, 11 MW of biogas, 2 MW of existing PV projects, and 210 kW of additional PV under development.

EBMUD is a not-for-profit public agency headquartered in Oakland, California, providing high-quality drinking water for more than 1.4 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The agency also operates a wastewater system serving 740,000 customers that helps protect the ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay.

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