ONME Local CV: Solar farm will uplift disadvantaged community; Kern County using green tech in ag

By ONME Newswire

In this episode of It's ONME Local - Central Valley, producer host Julia Dudley Najieb features local governments who are implementing green technologies to benefit disadvantage communities, e-bikes and the agriculture industry.


Fresno's first solar farm will benefit disadvantaged communities


FRESNO,CA --City of Fresno Councilman Miguel Arias and Mayor Jerry Dyer announced at a press conference last week the first solar farm to benefit disadvantage communities throughout West Fresno. The opportunity will bring 50 green jobs, reduction of pollution, and energy savings to the communities – near Cornelia Ave in West Fresno.


An agreement between the City of Fresno and Fresno Community Solar Developers, LLC ($20 million investment) will be creating Fresno's first solar farm on 158 acres of city-owned land.


Families within the region who meet the income eligibly requirements will benefit from a 20% energy savings for twenty years ( PG & E CARES program.)


The innovative initiation will feature City of Fresno's entrance into a greener economy, provide hands-on job training to individuals from disadvantaged communities and leverage a great return of investment on city-owned land.



PG & E is testing solar power to guard against California's wildfires


Grass Valley-based BoxPower Inc., which has developed a solar power generation unit that fits in a shipping container, has been hired by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to set up a power grid in a remote area of PG&E territory where power has been interrupted in the past by wildfires.


The 10-year old technology is being installed in Briceburg in Mariposa County to replace PG&E Corp. (NYSE: PCG) grid connections to the remote area near Yosemite National Park.


The company developed a turnkey, stand-alone solar-powered electric systems with backup battery and generator power intended for uses far off electrical grids in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.



San Joaquin Valley ag canals can avoid evaporation using solar power and save money


The San Joaquin Valley's hot temperatures during the summer exposes open farming canals to faster evaporation; California's drought seasons are also becoming more frequent.


New research grew in collaboration with UC Merced, UC Santa Cruz, and Citizen Group, and with funding support from NRG Energy and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, that can help limit this problem is the Valley's ag industry.


Lead author Brandi McKuin started working on the project while completing her Ph.D. at UC Merced, then continued with help from senior author and UC Santa Cruz professor Elliott Campbell, the Stephen R. Gliessman Presidential Chair in Water Resources and Food Systems and a fellow Merced transplant. UC Merced professor Joshua Viers and researcher Tapan Pathak advised on the project, and graduate students Andrew Zumkehr and Jenny Ta contributed to analysis.


Zumkehr led a complex hydrological analysis using data from satellites, climate models, and automated weather stations to model and compare evaporation rates at canal sites across the state, with and without shade from solar panels. McKuin then used this information in her assessment to calculate the financial benefits of reduced evaporation.



Bakersfield revisits bicycle lane policy due to the emergence of e-bikes

BAKERSFIELD,CA -- The city of Bakersfield is changing its new bicycle lane laws for electric bikes.


State law breaks e-bikes into three categories:


Class I: Equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance once the bike has reached 20 mph.

Class II: Equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance once the bike has reached 20 mph.

•Class III: Equipped with a speedometer and a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance once the bike has reached 28 mph.


Longtime cyclist and cycling advocate and educator Zac Griffin attended the city council meeting and noted that the city provided three options to the committee:


Option 1: Amend municipal code to clearly allow all e-bikes and other motorized uses (expressly naming Class I/II/III e-bikes, motorized scooters, boards, etc.).

•Option 2: Amend the Code to clearly prohibit all e-bikes and other motorized uses.

•Option 3: Amend the Code to allow only specific motorized uses, for example only Class I e-bikes and motorized scooters, expressly prohibiting all others.


The committee opted for the most wide open option. "


For the next step in the process, city staff will prepare proposed ordinances and return them to the committee for review. Because the current city ordinance is unclear, the language must be clarified, regardless of any policy decisions the full council makes.


Kern County ag business using solar to cut back on expenses and energy use


ARVIN,CA --New microgrid technology promising greater energy savings and less dependence of local electrical grids started construction on an integrated power generation and storage system at an 1,100-employee ag facility in Arvin.


The 5-megawatt solar, natural gas and battery installation Concentric Power Inc. is building at Tasteful Selections' specialty potato plant will use advanced computer systems to increase efficiency and allow the operation to continue during external disruptions to its power.


Touted as the first such system in the county, the $12 million project kicked off engineering almost a year and a half ago. The installation is expected to become fully operational by fall, cutting the plant's power bill by an estimated 40 percent.


Microgrids have become more popular in recent years as wider adoption of photovoltaic solar panels and batteries has increased demand for systems that can effectively coordinate them.


The idea is to improve energy resilience while also integrating demand for energy with on-site production, shifting resources when necessary to meet real-time needs for electricity.