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City Adds New Solar Power Source, Can Power up to 9,400 Pasadena Homes

Published on Thursday, May 19, 2016 | 4:27 pm

Pasadena Water and Power (PWP), is now receiving 20 megawatts (MW) of solar power from a large-scale commercial solar project in Kern County, Calif., known as the Kingbird “A” Solar Project (Kingbird). The 20MW solar project is expected to produce enough power each year equivalent to the average annual energy consumption of about 9,400 Pasadena homes.

The Kingbird development covers nearly 325 acres with more than 460,000 First Solar panels, and overall will produce 40MW of which Pasadena will be receiving half, or 20MW. Located near Rosamond, CA just across the Los Angeles County border, the Kingbird development is an ideal project site since it is relatively close to PWP’s electric load center.

At 20MW, Kingbird A is the largest operating utility-scale solar source in PWP’s renewable energy portfolio to date. With the Kingbird A project and two additional new utility-scale solar projects anticipated to become operational in the next few months, solar power is expected to make up approximately 20 percent of PWP’s renewable portfolio by the end of 2016 and 35 percent in 2017.

“Pasadena has made great strides to add new renewable energy sources to its power portfolio,” said PWP Resource Planning Manager Leesa Nayudu. “The addition of this new solar source brings us closer to meeting goals identified in several of the City’s long term strategic plans.”

PWP’s Integrated Resource Plan goals include a commitment to eliminate the use of coal-based energy by 2027 and to achieve a 60-percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 (based on 1990 levels). PWP’s Renewable Portfolio Standard goal is to supply 40 percent of its retail energy sales with renewable resources by 2020 and 50 percent by 2030. The addition of 20MW from the Kingbird project is estimated to provide more than 5 percent of PWP’s total annual energy supply from all sources.

Owned and operated by 8point3 Energy Partners and developed by First Solar, the project eliminates the need for upfront capital costs and annual fixed costs from PWP. The power purchase agreement includes an option for PWP to purchase the facility at various points during the contract term. To learn more about the Kingbird project, visit

“This project reduces the cost of renewable energy by taking advantage of investment tax credits while providing PWP with the flexibility to determine whether it wants to purchase the facility. Access to a large source of solar energy is especially attractive given that it is available during the day when energy loads are typically higher,” said PWP Interim General Manager Shari Thomas.

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