The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) will be powering 50% of its electricity though the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)’s Large Commercial SolarShares program, becoming the first California state agency to participate in the program.
The program allows large customers in the Sacramento area to purchase solar energy directly from SMUD. CalPERS will be granted solar electricity at a guaranteed fixed price for 20 years, which is projected to save an estimated $3.7 million in energy costs over the contract’s duration.
CalPERS will receive approximately 8.78 annual gigawatt-hours of electricity—nearly 50 percent of its electricity requirements—from local and regional solar energy resources with no decrease in performance.
The $331.6 billion fund will also not have to invest in the resources required to develop, construct, and maintain a project like this on its own as the agreement will help SMUD demonstrate greenhouse gas reduction opportunities and cost-effectiveness of the program with other commercial and industrial customers.
“CalPERS has long been a leader in energy and resource conservation, and we’re proud to use clean solar energy to power our facilities,” Doug Hoffner, CalPERS deputy executive officer for operations & technology, said in a statement. “Using solar to supply half of our electricity needs not only saves us money and reduces our environmental footprint, it supports our commitment to make a positive difference in the environment through our sustainability programs.”
Participation in the program continues CalPERS’ mission in environmentally friendly investment practices. Most recently, the fund revealed it had divested from coal in agenda material for its Aug. 14 investment committee meeting.