San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians
Valley Center, CA
San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians Community Solar 1
Type of Application
DOE Grant Number
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Project Period of Performance
The The San Pasqual Community Solar project will install a 223-kilowatt (kW) tribal co-tenant community-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) system on two elevated carports to serve 80 household subscribers and one tribal government building. The system is estimated to generate more than 406,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually, saving each residential subscriber an estimated $512 to $727 annually for a total of approximately $1,144,480 in electric bill credits over the life of the system.
The San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians (SPBMI) is a federally recognized Native American Tribe that maintains a Reservation covering about 1,380 acres in northeastern San Diego County in Southern California. The Reservation is home to about 800 people, including 450 enrolled tribal members and hundreds of additional nearby families also relying on SPBMI for public services.
In early 2015, the SPBMI Environmental Department implemented a series of strategic energy planning elements—including establishing a Tribal Energy and Resiliency Plan, analyzing area resilience limitations, and cultivating a community solar program adoption to include all tribal government and community membership energy needs. The Tribe established a goal of reducing its tribal lands energy consumption by 25% compared to its 2015 baseline and installing on-site renewable generation capacity, targeting 100% of its electricity consumption. The Tribe has also taken multiple substantial steps toward achieving its sustainable energy goals, including establishing a residential solar deployment program that has resulted in the installation of 63 rooftop solar PV systems totaling more than 230 kW (AC) of generator production, deploying energy efficiency upgrades in tribal administration buildings, and soliciting and exploring grant opportunities to safeguard critical tribal buildings and emergency services, including a microgrid deployment currently under construction with a 2021 interconnection forecast.
SPBMI's mission includes preserving and sharing cultural traditions, improving the general welfare of the San Pasqual community, and compassionately providing for the San Pasqual people and future generations. This project seeks to accelerate that mission directly by deploying a community solar asset that is carbon free, reduces member energy expense, is financially self- sufficient, and scales tribal workforce training with marketable skills.
The San Pasqual Community Solar project will be an integral component to accomplish SPBMI's 2016 Energy Sovereignty Plan. The project will design and install approximately 223 kW of solar PV on two solar carport structures, delivering approximately 406,000 kWh and eliminating approximately 76 tons of greenhouse gases annually.
The installed system will offer virtual net energy metering benefits to approximately 80 tribal member residential households and one government building. One goal of this project is to eliminate barriers to solar adoption for residential tribal members by aggregating tribal electric load and bundling it into a single capital asset to accumulate utility kilowatt-hour credit and distribute subscriber cost savings.
A passive income loop is made possible via a monthly energy subscriber fee and a long-term co-tenant power purchase agreement (PPA) between tribal community households and the tribal government. The long-term government PPA savings is modeled to partner with the monthly subscriber fee to self-fund the entire future tribal energy subscriber operations and maintenance (O&M) and subscriber management for the 20-year asset life cycle.
This community-scale solar array will be the largest solar deployment on SPBMI fee lands and serve as the community visual reminder of the Tribe's commitment to energy sovereignty and environmental stewardship.
The project scope includes two south-facing elevated carport structures co-located at the dedicated community multipurpose area located on tribal fee land. The solar electrical configuration includes five inverters, 572 solar panels, new 480-/277-volt, three-phase, four-wire switchgear, conductor/hardware, and a new 12-kilovolt utility point of interconnection service. The generator expects to safely deliver approximately 7,749 megawatt-hours (MWh) of low-carbon emissions energy over the system's lifetime, providing direct benefits to 80 tribal residential buildings (18% of tribal households) and one tribal government public works building. All system beneficiaries are located on Tribal Trust land and receive direct benefits.
The project team developed a comprehensive project plan divided into three measurable results: (1) subscriber prospecting/framework, final system sizing, request for proposal and PPA development and circulation, design engineering, utility application, and long lead procurement with reporting milestone; (2) notice to proceed award, preconstruction, utility interconnection deployment, tribal workforce development/training and construction physical activities, and milestone reporting; (3) testing, commissioning, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) approval, and O&M training, with final report.
The San Pasqual tribal lands are in Valley Center, California, encompassing 3,127 acres. Due to the terrain challenges, the optimal location for the community solar asset is on tribal fee lands within the dedicated tribal community multipurpose recreation and baseball field area. This location fulfills the SDG&E Net Energy Monitoring Tariff mandate that array installation be contiguous to all buildings receiving benefits. Specifically, the community solar array location is approximately 1.8 acres and is currently a flat, unobstructed native dirt surplus parking lot, highly suitable for community-scale solar installation.
The project was competitively selected under the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy's Fiscal Year 2021 funding opportunity announcement "Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands - 2020" (DE-FOA-0002317) and started in October 2021.
The project status reports provide more information.