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City of Davis Signs Lease Option Agreement for Solar Farm

Post Date:April 15, 2020 1:13 pm
The City of Davis announced today an update of a major step toward its climate action goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040. The City has signed a lease option agreement with BrightNight, LLC, of El Dorado Hills. Under the agreement, BrightNight will have the ability to negotiate a lease for up to 235 acres of City-owned land near the City’s wastewater treatment plant on County Road 28H. The recent upgrade to the City’s wastewater treatment plant eliminated the need for this land as part of the treatment operation, so the land can now be used for another purpose.
 
At the February 11, 2020, City Council meeting, Mayor Brett Lee reported that the Davis City Council had directed staff to move forward with a preliminary agreement with BrightNight to lease the land for the project. 
 
On March 24, 2020, a Lease Option Agreement with BrightNight was brought back to the Council for approval and was passed 4-1 after receipt of public testimony at the open meeting.
 
After the diligence and option period is complete, a ground lease with BrightNight would be negotiated and brought back to the Council for consideration after BrightNight has secured all of its necessary and applicable entitlements from Yolo County and any other applicable agencies, including compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
If the ground lease goes forward, this will allow for construction and operation of a solar and battery energy storage project and an associated research and development (R&D) facility.
 
If approved, this community project has multiple benefits including long-term lease revenue, increased renewable supply moving the City closer to carbon neutrality, clean and locally produced energy enhancing operational resiliency of the local power grid, and energy R&D and educational opportunities. This new solar project is projected to produce more than 66,000 megawatt hours of clean electricity every year, resulting in 11 million+ pounds per year of avoided carbon dioxide emissions.
 
Mayor Lee also announced that the Council will work with City staff and the developer to explore ways to directly power City buildings and facilities, like the wastewater treatment plant, with clean, low-cost solar power. “We are excited to be taking this important step toward our clean energy future,” said Lee. 
 
In addition, the inclusion of energy storage in the proposed state-of-the-art project would enable it to deliver renewable energy at times when it will be needed most. The project requires a number of local and state of California agency approvals, but is scheduled to be completed in 2022.
 
“The Council recognizes that the large majority of our citizens favor clean energy. The approval to take the first steps with this project are an important signal to the community that we indeed intend to achieve our shared carbon neutral climate action goal,” said Mayor Lee. “In addition, it is gratifying to be able to re-purpose an existing piece of City-owned land to generate a very substantial amount of clean, renewable energy.”
 
“We’re excited to be working with the forward-thinking community of Davis to advance the City’s climate action plan, as well as position residents to add a cost-effective local energy supply source. We’re also looking forward to research and educational collaboration with the City and local stakeholders, including R&D sites,” said Martin Hermann, BrightNight Energy’s founder and Chief Executive Officer. BrightNight is partnering on this project with PVEL, a reliability and performance testing lab for solar project developers, financiers, owners, and operators.
 
Since the announcement of this clean energy opportunity that is in alignment with established City Council goals, inclusive of the Climate Emergency Declaration, there have been resident requests for more information related to the lease option agreement. For more information about the project, please follow the link provided here:

 

https://www.cityofdavis.org/city-hall/community-development-and-sustainability/property-acquisition-and-management

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For More Information Contact:
Barbara Archer
City Manager’s Office
barcher@cityofdavis.org
Desk: 530-747-5884
Mobile: 530-400-3418
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