Solar Project

Nov 6, 2017

Solar Installation, Fresno City College, Reedley College, Clovis Community College, Madera Community College Center

Solar Project Presentation (PDF)

Background Information:

Through a statewide competitive bid process, Forefront, LLC was awarded the contracts for solar installation at Fresno City College, Reedley College, Clovis Community College, Clovis Community College Herndon Campus, and Madera Community College Center campuses through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

Under the PPA, ForeFront will finance, design, permit, construct, own, operate and maintain the solar arrays.  In return, the District will purchase the solar energy generated by the systems for 20 years at a specified flat rate. At the end of twenty years, the District will have the option to purchase the systems, extend the agreement, or have ForeFront remove the systems and restore the premises to its original condition at no cost to the District. During the term of the agreement, the District has the option to purchase the systems in any year after year 6. Included in the PPA is a performance guarantee in which ForeFront will compensate the District if the systems fail to produce a site specific annual KWH target.  The PPA sets out specific timelines for construction and project completion.

The systems are designed to produce a maximum of 83% of the campuses’ energy needs.  However, on certain months the systems may export more energy than the campuses’ consume.  For energy exported to the grid, the local utility will credit the district at the full retail rate of electricity.  On an annual basis, these credits are netted with the District’s utility bills that are expected to result in substantial bill reductions.

Under the PPA with ForeFront, the District will retain title to the Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) created through the generation of solar energy which it may need in the future to claim “Green” status of the campuses. Environmental considerations are a factor that contributed to the recommendation to award the contract and place solar on the campuses. Through the EPA website, greenhouse gas reduction, CO2 emissions, and carbon sequestering can be calculated based on the system sizes. https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator

This solar project is exempt from CEQA evaluation based on the CEQA Guidelines, as defined in the California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Chapter 13. Consequently, a CEQA exemption was submitted and granted for each site location.

Update August 2017:

A wildlife study was performed by a wildlife biologist at Fresno City College and Reedley College to identify potential impacts. The study was performed using standard methods of detecting nesting birds, including avian sounds, avian behavioral cues, and searching for nests in trees, shrubs, and manmade structures. At Fresno City College, no active nests were found. At Reedley College, no active nests of protected birds were found, however, the palm trees along Reed (not to be removed) were full of activity, but only by invasive/non-native species (i.e house sparrow and European Starling). The farm area at Reedley College, relating to the solar that will be placed near the Ag area, is under review. The campuses at Clovis, Madera, and Herndon were reviewed and not identified as requiring the more in depth study.

September 12, 2017 Update: Construction Timelines

State Center Community College District’s 7.5 megawatt solar canopy system has begun with preliminary construction at Fresno City College. In an effort to perform as much work as possible before the start of the fall semester, preparatory work has started in parking lots B, C & D and will require phased lot closures on Monday, August 7, 2017, Wednesday, August 9, 2017, and Friday, August 11, 2017. Once the contractors have completed their work in each area, they will re-open the parking lots for traffic.

Similar preparatory work will take place at the other campuses starting with; Madera Center on August 28, 2017, and August 29, 2017, for parking lot A; Reedley College on September 5, 2017, and September 6, 2017, for a portion of parking lot D; and at Clovis Community College on November 13, 2017 and November 14, 2017 for parking lots A, D, and a portion of lot C.

Once preliminary construction is completed, installation of solar will begin at each campus. Due to the complexities of the systems and the need to maintain the maximum amount of available parking; each campus has been designed in multiple phases in an effort to decrease the number of parking stalls closed off at any given time.

November 2, 2017 Construction Update

Fresno City College

  • 7 Phases
  • Phases 1, 2 & 6 in parking lot D, phases 3 & 7 in parking lot C, and phases 4 & 5 in parking lot B
  • Fencing was installed on November 2, 2017 in a portion of parking lot D in preparation for solar installation. Due to concerns regarding proper ingress, egress and traffic flow, the fencing will be modified on Monday, November 6, 2017 to enclose the area shown on the map as Phase 1 (shown in red). The first part of the project will be drilling and setting foundations. As they finish each section, they will take down the fencing and move to the next phase shown on the map. Once they finish this initial stage, they will then move to the next stage of construction with installation of the steel components, followed by installation of the solar panels, electrical and lighting. The contractor estimates it will take approximately one week per phase for the drilling and foundations portion of the work.
  • During the winter break larger portions of the parking lots may be closed to allow for concurrent work to take place in multiple phases while there are no students and fewer staff present.
  • Construction will be suspended inside the parking lots during the first three weeks of the spring semester in January, to help with the parking congestion.
  • During construction, additional parking will be made available in the grass lot north of the gym to help minimize some of the parking impacts caused by construction.

Fresno City College Phase Map (PDF)

Reedley College

  • 5 Phases
  • Preliminary phasing is shown on the phasing map with phases 1A, 1B & 4 in parking lot D, phases 2 & 3 in lot B and phase 5 at Mechanized Ag & the farm. The phasing is preliminary and may be adjusted during the course of construction in an attempt to work around school schedules and minimize parking impact where feasible.
  • A portion of parking lot D has been fenced off as site investigation, surveying and electrical work continue for the next couple of weeks. Construction start has been delayed due to additional electrical modifications required. Drilling and setting foundations will begin the week of November 13, 2017.
  • During construction, additional parking is available in the grass area east of the softball field, as well as the newly paved overflow parking lot on the west side of campus.

Reedley College Phase Map 1 (PDF)

Reedley College Phase Map 2 (PDF)

Madera Center

  • 2 Phases
  • Phase 1 northern portion lot A, phase 2 southern portion lot A.
  • Starting on November 1, 2017 a portion of parking lot A (as shown on map) will be fenced off to start the solar installation project. The first part of the project will be drilling and setting foundations. As they finish each section, they will take down the fencing and move to the next phase shown on the map. Once they finish this initial stage, they will then move to the next stage of construction with installation of the steel components, followed by installation of the solar panels, electrical and lighting. The contractor estimates it will take approximately one week per phase for the drilling and foundations.
  • During winter break, when parking is not as critical, larger areas of the parking lot may be closed to allow for additional work to take place when students are gone and fewer staff are present.

Mader Community College Center Phase Map (PDF)

Clovis Community College

  • 2 Phases
  • Phase 1A, 1B & 2A in parking lots C & D, phase 2B parking lot A. Phasing may be adjusted once construction start date is finalized.
  • Construction tentatively scheduled for November 13, 2017 pending PG & E supplemental review.
  • An overflow parking area has been created on the south side of campus, next to the EECU ATM on Willow, to allow for additional parking during construction.

Clovis Community College Phase Map (PDF)

State Center Community College District is excited to bring renewable energy to our campuses which will reduce our carbon footprint, provide clean and sustainable energy, and save the District money.