On September 25, the Imperial Irrigation District celebrated joining forces with Citizens Energy Corp. to help deliver clean, locally produced renewable energy to thousands of people in the Imperial and Coachella valleys.
The IID Citizens community solar project, located just north of Calipatria on district-owned property, uses locally-generated renewable energy and does something that no other utility does by scaling or implementing. work.
A first of its kind for community solar power, all of the energy from IID Citizens’ solar project will be provided to all of IID’s low-income customer accounts, which currently number around 12,000. as these customers can now benefit from the use of local resources and participate in California’s green energy revolution, these customers will also benefit from a further reduction on their electricity bill.
The project is most likely an example for the rest of the country and something that will have lasting local beneficial impacts.
For several years, IID has believed that such a project could benefit its clients. It happened after the neighborhood and the citizens, who had already invested in the community, started discussions in 2017 and things moved quickly.
The IID agreeing to lease the land and the citizens agreeing to build the solar project, the IID board of directors, in January 2018, approved a 23-year power purchase agreement for 30 megawatts of renewable energy, obtaining electricity at the lowest cost in the district. never been able to get hold of solar power.
Through the unique partnership with Citizens, IID is able to pass these savings on in the form of an additional monthly rebate to all of its low-income Home Energy Assistance Program customers through the district’s new eGreen program.
Since each customer account probably represents a larger population when you consider the total household size, I would estimate that thousands more will directly benefit.
In a region where unemployment rates continue to hover around 20% and income levels are well below the national average, maintaining affordable energy prices and expanding our customer support programs is a key priority for IID. .
Additionally, solar power adds to the district’s already diverse renewable energy portfolio – one I’m proud to say – is comprised entirely of renewable energy resources mined here in the IID service area.
Large energy projects like this also create well-paying jobs. During the construction phase, 280 jobs were created, mostly unionized jobs, which also created large-scale positive financial impacts for the entire community.
So there are a number of reasons we can be proud of.
Over a century ago, the IID was created by the public and for the public, and our mission remains: to provide the most reliable, efficient and affordable service to the communities we serve.
We can be proud that after so many years, we continue to live according to this mission.
This project is a testament to what can be accomplished when two entities like ours, committed to serving the public good, dedicate our resources and teams of talented minds to working together to achieve a common goal with a shared vision.
I hope this will not be the last time we have collaborated and I look forward to our continued partnership.
Erik Ortega is chairman of the board of the Imperial Irrigation District. Email him at [email protected]