SunPower Corp., a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar power systems, and MMA Renewable Ventures, a third-party financer and operator of renewable energy generation facilities and subsidiary of Municipal Mortgage & Equity, dedicated Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District’s (AC Transit’s) new 621-kilowatt solar electric system. The system, located on AC Transit facilities in Hayward and Oakland, is expected to generate approximately 767,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of power each year.

Over the 30-year life of the system, AC Transit expects to save $5 million in utility costs as a result of the clean, renewable solar power that the system will generate. It will offset the production of more than 14.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions—equivalent to planting 2,000 acres of trees or removing 1,400 cars from California’s highways.

“While installing a solar system to power our facilities makes a great deal of financial sense, it will also provide more than enough power to offset the 189,000 kWh per year required to operate AC Transit’s hydrogen production facility and help lower the overall amount of energy we use from conventional sources,” said Rick Fernandez, AC Transit general manager.

MMA Renewable Ventures will finance and own AC Transit’s solar power systems under the SunPower Access program, which allows SunPower customers to purchase solar-generated electricity from a SunPower financing partner as an alternative to the outright purchase of the solar power systems. AC Transit will pay MMA Renewable Ventures for the solar electricity generated over a long-term power purchase agreement. At the end of the term specified under the agreement, AC Transit will have the option to renew the agreement, transfer the equipment to a new site or purchase the system from MMA Renewable Ventures.

A large portion of these solar power systems installation costs was covered by a $1.9 million incentive from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E), under California’s Self Generation Incentive Program. With the program, PG&E can provide almost $950 million in incentives over the next 10 years to help customers buy their own solar systems.

PG&E also announced a $3 million greening initiative for the city of Oakland. The Greening of Oakland partnership, which combines and integrates new and already-available initiatives, will leverage PG&E’s expertise in clean energy, energy efficiency and economic development for the benefit of residents and businesses in the City of Oakland.

Through these programs and power purchase agreements, you can help your customers incorporate renewable energy systems at a lower cost.  EC