Silicon Valley Power offers 100 percent solar program

In response to customer interest, California’s Silicon Valley Power is now supplying its voluntary green power program entirely from solar, mainly from within California.

About 9.1 percent of the Santa Clara, California, public power utility’s residential and business customers subscribe to SVP’s voluntary green power program, up from 8.1 percent in 2016, said Mary Medeiros McEnroe, SVP public benefits program manager. The program is called Santa Clara Green Power.

Residential and small business customers who sign up for the green power program pay an extra 1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour compared with SVP’s regular rates. Medium and large commercial and industrial customers pay an extra $15 per 1,000 KWh blocks.

About 80 percent of the solar supply comes from in-state resources while the rest comes from ten other Western states.

“Silicon Valley Power is in the heart of global innovation and our customers are demanding more and cleaner electricity options that align with their values and drive global change,” said John Roukema, SVP’s chief electric utility officer.

When SVP started its green power program in 2004, about 85 percent came from wind and the rest came from solar, according to Medeiros McEnroe.

Meanwhile, starting in January, SVP’s standard power supply for residential customers came entirely from carbon emissions free resources, including large hydroelectric sources, noted Medeiros McEnroe. The change reflects the utility’s exit from the coal-fired San Juan power plant near Farmington, New Mexico.

SVP had a stake in the San Juan plant through the M-S-R Public Power Agency, which negotiated an exit from the facility. San Juan provided about ten percent of SVP’s electricity.

SVP has about 55,000 customers, with residential customers making up about 6.5 percent of its load. The utility has a peak load of nearly 590 megawatts.

SVP’s green power program has consistently appeared in annual top ten lists issued by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Several public power utilities including SVP were included on top 10 rankings for 2016 compiled by NREL for utility green pricing programs.

With respect to top green power sales (as of December 2016), SVP came in at number nine with 206,692 MWh. On the top 10 list for green power sales rates, SVP was ranked third (6.03%) and for green power participation rates, SVP earned the fifth spot (8.13 percent).