Rawson, Blum & Leon (RBL), a San Francisco-based real estate owner, developer and manager, in partnership with Alta Energy, a company that empowers enterprises to achieve the economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy, announced the development of a 345 kilowatt direct current (265 kW AC) solar photovoltaic (PV) system at its popular Cost Plus Plaza shopping center in Larkspur, CA. The 53,000 square foot center’s rooftop solar system will generate more than 540,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean energy annually, generating approximately $50,000, or $0.94 per square foot, in new revenue per year for RBL.
“Solar energy helps us increase revenue at our Cost Plus Plaza property, while also helping the environment. We believe our tenants and their customers appreciate knowing the property is producing solar energy,” said Ari Blum, partner at RBL. “Alta Energy helped us navigate the complexities associated with solar deployment, advised us on the financial structure alternatives and available incentives, and saw the project through completion. Alta Energy’s neutrality and ability to provide meaningful decision-making information was a key driver to enabling solar for this project.”
The energy produced from the Cost Plus Plaza solar system will be sold to MCE, a local public electricity provider, through a standard-offer Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) contract, which incentivizes and supports the development of local renewable energy projects. The clean energy generated will be enough to power 50 homes per year. BayWa Renewable Energy was selected as the project developer and completed the installation of the PV system.
“With this solar project, RBL tapped what is typically a property’s most under-utilized asset – its roof – to generate new income and enhance the return of the real estate asset, while also benefitting the environment,” said Jeff Hintzke, Alta Energy’s vice president of operations. “Alta Energy is proud to have provided RBL with the analytics, financing options, technical assessments and procurement services to make this project become a reality.”
MCE, offering the first Community Choice Aggregation program in California, played an important role in the project. Its FIT program allows renewable energy developers within its service area to sell renewable energy to MCE at a fixed price for 20 years. This standard agreement offered by MCE provided a basis for securing the project’s financing, as well as a high level of certainty regarding its generated revenue stream. This further assisted RBL’s decision to move forward with the project, which in turn benefits the environment by putting more renewable energy on the electrical grid.
“We are pleased to support the Cost Plus Plaza solar project and hope this serves as a local renewable development case study for other businesses, renewable energy entrepreneurs and developers,” said MCE CEO Dawn Weisz.