Sonoma, Marin clean energy suppliers add solar, biogas

From left, Petaluma Councilmember Dave King, Coldwell Solar's EVP of Construction Kevin Webb, Property Owner Josephine Lavio, Supervisor David Rabbit, and Sonoma Clean Power's CEO Geof Syphers, Aug. 31, 2017. (Alaniz Marketing)


Sonoma Clean Power is adding solar power to its wind and geothermal stable of energy sources, and MCE (Marin Clean Energy) will be ushering in a landfill gas-to-energy plant late in September.

SCP broke ground on Aug. 31on its first solar facility that will generate 2 megawatts of solar energy facility-- enough electricity to power 600 homes.

The plant will be located on D Street Extension street in rural in Petaluma.

The systems will be built on private property and SCP will buy the electricity under a power purchase agreement with Coldwell Solar, based in Rocklin.

Coldwell Solar developed the projects and will build, operate and maintain the solar plants and deliver solar generated electricity to SCP.

Coldwell designs, builds, operates and maintain grid-scale solar energy systems for public and private entities.

Two separate 1 Megawatt systems will be online in rural Petaluma by the end of the year.

“We look forward to adding 2 MW of local solar to augment the local geothermal currently making up our 100 percent renewable EverGreen service,” said SCP CEO Geof Syphers. “It’s exciting to be bringing our first local solar project online.”

In June, Sonoma Clean Power began serving Mendocino County, which added 38,000 new customers to its existing 196,000 in Sonoma County.

“Sonoma and Mendocino counties have been leaders in renewable energy and environmental sustainability for decades,” said Dave Hood, CEO for Coldwell Solar. “We look forward to a long and productive relationship.”

In May, SCP broke ground on a wind facility, in the western central valley community of Tracy. The Golden Hills North Wind Facility project is removing 283 30-year-old wind turbines and replacing them with 20 2.3-megawatt GE turbines, capable of generating more power with twice the efficiency of the previous wind project.

Currently, most wind energy in SCP”s portfolio comes from Oregon. The Golden Hills facility is forecasted to cover 6 percent of SCP’s load starting in 2018. The contract term is 20 years from full commercial operation date.

SCP, like MCE, is a clean-energy supplier with an agreement with PG&E to purchase electricity from sources like solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower from alternative sources, and feed it through PG&E’s wires to customers. PG&E also remains responsible for billing and maintenance to the system.

Customers can opt out of the service and sign with PG&E directly, but in Sonoma 88 percent rely on Sonoma Clean Power, and MCE serves 83 percent of the population it covers.

MCE’s new biogas plant at Waste Management Redwood Landfill, in Novato, will have a ribbon cutting ceremony Sept. 20.

The plant will provide enough renewable electricity to serve more than 5,000 MCE customers in Marin and Napa counties and the cities of Benicia, El Cerrito, Lafayette, Richmond, San Pablo, and Walnut Creek.

The new $14.5 million state-of-the-art plant takes the methane gas, produced by trash, and powers two reciprocating engines that generate 3.9 megawatts of electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A sophisticated, multi-step scrubbing system also removes carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, and nitrogen oxides, ensuring the plant has low emissions.

Cynthia Sweeney covers health care, hospitality, residential real estate, education, employment and business insurance. Reach her at or call 707-521-4259.