The owners of a 630-acre solar photovoltaic project under development in western Fresno County have entered into a deal to sell electricity from the project to communities throughout the Bay Area through MCE, a community choice aggregator.
First Solar’s Little Bear solar project near Mendota is planned for 630 acres owned by the Westlands Water District along California Avenue west of Highway 33. The project will use solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity. First Solar is designing the plant with an ultimate capacity of 160 megawatts. MCE’s power purchase agreement is for electricity from the first 40MW phase of the project, with an option to expand its purchases to the plant’s full 160MW capacity.
One megawatt of generating capacity is typically estimated to meet the power demands of about 800 to 1,000 homes.
As a community choice aggregator, MCE is a nonprofit company that buy electricity from renewable-energy solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric and bioenergy projects and resells it to customers in Marin County, Napa County and the Bay Area cities of Benicia, El Cerrito, Lafayette, San Pablo, Richmond and Walnut Creek.
First Solar plans to begin construction in 2019 and begin producing power from the site in 2020.