The County of Sonoma has partnered with ForeFront Power, a leading developer and asset manager of commercial and industrial-scale solar energy and storage projects, to build a 963 kilowatt (kW) solar energy portfolio at Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (STS), as well as at the Sonoma County Fleet Operations Building at 709 Russell Avenue in Santa Rosa. Through a 5-year collaboration with the county, ForeFront Power installed an 884 kW solar canopy in the airport parking lot, and a 79 kW rooftop solar array at the Fleet Building.
ForeFront Power analyzed the airport's annual electrical consumption and designed a solar energy system to cover the airport's electrical energy needs. They developed a solar parking canopy comprising 2,010 solar modules that generate enough renewable electricity to offset 100% of the airport's annual electrical demand. PG&E's Net Energy Metering (NEM) provision allows the airport to "bank" any excess energy produced by the system during periods of extended sunshine. The airport can then tap these banked excess energy credits at night or on cloudy days, or whenever daily electricity demand exceeds the production by its solar energy system.
"Anything we can do to move our community toward a regenerative future is a priority right now," said Sonoma County 4th District Supervisor James Gore. "Our renewable energy portfolio is one part of Sonoma County's ambitious sustainability plan to adapt and prepare our communities for climate change. We in Sonoma County are also proud to do our part in helping California and the U.S. reach their climate goals."
"ForeFront Power is thrilled to see Sonoma County achieve another milestone in its sustainability strategy," said Rachel McLaughlin, vice president, Sales and Marketing, at ForeFront Power. "Even as Northern California has faced unprecedented climate challenges, communities are demonstrating their capacity for adaptation and resilience."
The county selected ForeFront Power to develop, finance, and construct the solar energy portfolio through a power purchase agreement (PPA). Combined, the two systems at Airport and Fleet will generate over 1,495,500 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy per year, offsetting 1,060 metric tons of CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to removing 230 passenger vehicles from the road each year.