City of Bakersfield

The City of Bakersfield is the largest city in Kern County and the ninth-largest across the state of California. Serving a population of over 410,000 citizens, Bakersfield continually seeks ways to mitigate costs for its taxpayers, including installing renewable energy. Bakersfield partnered with ForeFront Power to install a citywide solar portfolio at multiple government facilities expected to save the City millions in energy savings.

“ForeFront Power has come to the table as a partner. They’ve opened the door for the city, in terms of seeing what’s possible, and they’ve laid the groundwork on how to get to where we want to be, where we are today,” City of Bakersfield Public Works Director Gregg Strakaluse said. “They’ve taken care of a lot of the details that normally a city organization would have to take care of.”

Phase 1 of the planned citywide solar electricity generating project was completed in 2022 with a 2 megawatt-DC (MW DC) portfolio across 5 projects, comprising ground-mounted and solar parking canopy systems now at key city sites such as its Mesa Marin Sports Complex, Corporation Yard, City Hall South, Bakersfield Police Department Headquarters, and The Park at River Walk, where a commemorative ribbon cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the Phase 1 portfolio coming online and signal the next phase of the portfolio, which includes solar and storage, planned for 2024.

Bakersfield’s solar energy and energy storage portfolio adds another local, clean, renewable resource that can be tapped to meet the State of California’s electrical demand and avoid greenhouse gas emissions. The solar energy portfolio generates nearly 3.4 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, which is enough to power the annual electricity use of 460 homes. This clean, renewable energy supply helps the City avoid emitting approximately 2,600 tons of atmospheric CO2 per year, which is equivalent to avoiding 2.7 million pounds of coal burned every year.

Under the terms of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the City of Bakersfield, ForeFront Power developed, financed, owns, operates, and maintains the City’s solar energy portfolio. The PPA enabled Bakersfield to develop its portfolio at no upfront cost and without using bond funds. ForeFront Power charges the City a fixed, below-market rate for electricity, which is locked in for the 20-year duration of the agreement. Phase 1 alone is expected to save the City over $9 million on electricity costs during the 20-year period.

In 2022, the City of Bakersfield and ForeFront Power held a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of Phase 1 of the citywide solar electricity generating project. The event was covered in The Bakersfield Californian, BakersfieldNow, Solar Builder, and Solar Power World.

CustomerCity of BakersfieldSegmentGovernmentTypeCanopy + GroundCapacity2 MWYear2022LocationBakersfield, California

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