Fresno County is processing three more large, utility-sized solar projects on impaired ag land on the Westside – north of the Kings County line. All three are in the early stage of the approval process preparing to do EIRs for the county, says planner Chris Motta.
Already Fresno County has approved a second phase of the huge Tranquility solar project. The first phase went on-line in September generating 200MW of power sold to SCE. Developer Recurrent Energy – who already has a half dozen projects in Kings County next door, including the just announced 167MW NAS Lemoore solar farm – is working on plans for another 200MW in Fresno County. Regards this second Tranquility project Recurrent spokesperson Seth Israel says they recently signed an agreement to sell 100MW of that future power to Marin Clean Energy.
But there’s more. Recurrent, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar, has filed a new plan for another 400MW this November, says Chris Motta.This project on 4000 acres, is called Scarlet and would be located near their other project not far from the town of Tranquility in west Fresno County. The EIR process is just starting on Scarlet.
And more still. First Solar has filed plans for their Little Bear solar farm that would generate 180MW of power southwest of Mendota.
Lastly, European developer E.On plans a190MW solar farm with 20MW of battery storage near Highway 5 at Jayne Ave just north of the Avenal Cutoff. This big project filed with Fresno County in September 2016, would sprawl over 2450 acres.
All these huge renewable energy projects will bring millions in construction spending, hundreds of local construction jobs and millions in taxes to both the state and county.
If all the projects just mentioned here came to pass it would add up to nearly 1000MW not yet on-line. Fresno County has 329MW of utility-size solar projects generating power now.
While the state is an important driver of added solar capacity here, federal legislation extending the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) signed into law on December 18th, 2015, is a huge factor. The bill extends the 30% Solar Investment Tax Credits for both residential and commercial projects through the end of 2019, and then drops the credit to 26% in 2020, and 22% in 2021 before dropping permanently to 10% for commercial projects and 0% for residential projects.