MCE and Longroad Energy are excited to announce the completion of the 160-MWAC/215-MWDC Little Bear solar complex in Fresno County, California. The complex consists of four separate solar facilities that represent MCE’s largest collection of solar projects to date. All four projects were installed by Swinerton Renewable Energy and began commercial operation in December 2020, and will serve MCE customers under long-term PPAs.
The Little Bear solar complex design reflects key environmental considerations including utilizing land that was disturbed or previously degraded and leveraging existing electrical distribution and transmission facilities, rights-of-way, roads and other infrastructure. These practices reduce impacts to local land and water resources. In addition, the project will contribute approximately $2 million in sales tax for Fresno County, as well as over $1 million in property taxes over the first decade of operation. The total project costs were approximately $320 million, adding to MCE’s over $1.6 billion invested in new California renewable projects.
“MCE is grateful to partner with Longroad Energy and AIP on the Little Bear solar complex,” said Dawn Weisz, MCE CEO. “This project demonstrates MCE’s mission in action by reducing energy-related greenhouse gases, while providing jobs and economic growth in California.”
The Little Bear projects represented roughly 500 new jobs, and over 380,000 labor hours during the construction phase. The project was constructed under Project Labor Agreements including union labor from Operating Engineers Local 3, the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council, the Northern California District Council of Laborers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 100 and the Ironworkers Local 155. This project will provide clean energy for approximately 65,000 homes each year, reducing the carbon footprint of MCE customers and the California electric grid.
“MCE’s customers have made the important choice to consume carbon-free electricity, and we are pleased to accommodate them via the Little Bear projects,” said Michael Alvarez, Longroad COO. “These projects are responsibly developed, constructed, and operated, backed by long-term PPAs and powered by innovative solar technology designed in America, and are important additions to Longroad’s growing portfolio in the United States.”
News item from MCE