Energy Justice: California’s Judicial Council Issues RFP for 33 Microgrids

Aug. 7, 2023
The Judicial Council of California is looking to install renewable microgrids at 33 locations across the state.

The Judicial Council of California is looking to install renewable microgrids at 33 facilities across the state.

The state of California continues to lead the way when it comes to microgrid adoption. Last week, the Judicial Council of California released an RFP for 33 grid-connected renewable energy projects, including photovoltaic (PV), battery energy storage (BESS) and microgrid systems.

The Statewide On-Site Solar and Battery Energy Storage Program is part of the Council’s plan to reduce courthouse greenhouse gas emissions and improve its resilience with renewable energy.

The Judicial Council previously canceled a similar RFP that had been launched in 2022.

An expansive PV, BESS and microgrid program

The Judicial Council is the primary policy making body of the California judicial system, which includes the state’s Superior, Appellate and Supreme Courts. The 33 judicial sites included in the RFP are divided into four regions:

The Bay Area / Northern Coastal (BANCRO) Region includes seven project sites across Alameda, Contra Costa, San Benito, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, including locations in Fremont, South San Francisco and San Jose.

The Northern / Central (NRCO) region has 10 sites, including locations in the cities of Chico, Fresno and Mammoth Lakes.

The Southern Region, Group 1’s (SRO-1) six sites are primarily located in Los Angeles County.

Southern Region, Group 2 (SRO-2) covers sites in Pomona, San Bernadino, San Diego and Santa Anna, among others.

Projects in BANCRO and NRCO will all be operated under solar power purchase agreements (SPPA). SRO-1 and SRO-2 projects will be built either under SPPAs or under a solar equipment lease agreement (SELA), depending on the needs of the site.

Proposals must include options for three types of systems

The council is looking to select one award winner for each region, though applicants may be awarded multiple regions. Applicants can be financiers, asset owners or developers.

Proposals for each region must include three turnkey installation options for each site:

Option 1: Solar photovoltaic (PV) only

Option 2: Solar PV and battery energy storage system (BESS)

Option 3: PV, BESS, and a grid connected renewable energy microgrid capable of islanding from the power grid and maximizing energy savings.

No matter the form the project takes, both SPPA and SELA sites will sell all electricity produced to the Judicial Council at an agreed upon fixed rate.

Next steps

Proposals will be ranked based on a 100-point scale, with the greatest number of points awarded for cost / savings and the preliminary project design and approach.

Additional details on the project, as well a key milestones, can be found on the California Courts website (RFP-FS-2023-06-JP). Questions should be submitted in writing to [email protected] by November 3, 2023.

There is a non-mandatory pre-proposal call set for August 17, followed by a virtual technical question and answer session on September 11. Non-mandatory site walkthroughs begin in October and final proposals are due on December 14.

It is expected that the projects will be awarded in early 2024, with construction starting in late spring. Both the SPPA and SELA contracts will have operation and maintenance agreements that run through 2044.

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About the Author

Kathy Hitchens | Special Projects Editor

I work as a writer and special projects editor for Microgrid Knowledge. I have over 30 years of writing experience, working with a variety of companies in the renewable energy, electric vehicle and utility sector, as well as those in the entertainment, education, and financial industries. I have a BFA in Media Arts from the University of Arizona and a MBA from the University of Denver.

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