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Sacramento Municipal Utility District


July 2010 - Holy Cross Energy (Colorado) broke ground on an 80 kW solar array in El Jebel, Colorado. Holy Cross's residential and commercial customers can purchase shares (watts) of the solar array upfront at a cost of $3.15 per watt ($3,150 per kilowatt). Community owners will then receive a credit on their bill each month at a rate of $0.11 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). The kWh production owners are credited with is based on the actual production by the number of how many watts each member owns. Because operation and maintenance costs are included in the upfront cost, owners will receive the monthly benefits for a term of 50 years. The Carbondale, Colorado-based Clean Energy Collective originated, developed and is managing the program with Sunsense Solar Electric managing the construction of the array.

A number of community solar programs have been developed recently, particularly in the Northwest. Community solar programs allow customers to purchase a share of a solar system, and receive the benefits of the energy that is produced by their share. Ashland, Oregon, Ellensburg, Washington, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), California, St. George, Utah, and Bainbridge Island, Washington all have community solar programs ranging in total size from 5 kW (Bainbridge Island) to 1 MW (SMUD). Florida Keys Electric Coop also offers a Simple Solar Program.

Additional information - Community-Owned Solar Garden Launches in Roaring Fork Valley

Additional information - The Northwest Community Solar Guide (PDF 4.8 MB) Download Adobe Reader


May 2010 - Using information provided by utilities, National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) has released new "Top 10" rankings of utility programs for 2009 in the following categories: total sales of renewable energy to program participants, total number of customer participants, the percentage of customer participation, green power sales as a percentage of total utility retail electricity sales, and the lowest price premium charged for a green power program using new renewable resources.

Ranked by renewable energy sales (kWh/year), Austin Energy in Austin, Texas sold the largest amount of renewable energy in the nation through its voluntary green power program. Rounding out the top five are Portland General Electric (Oregon), PacifiCorp (Ore. and five other states), the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (Calif.), and Xcel Energy (Colo., Minn., Wis. and N. Mexico).

Utility green power sales in 2009 exceeded 6 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), and they represent more than 5 percent of total electricity sales for some of the most popular programs. Wind energy represents approximately two-thirds of electricity generated for green energy programs nationwide.

News Release - NREL Highlights Utility Green Power Leaders

Additional Information - NREL Top 10 Utility Green Power Programs

Contact: Jenny Sumner, 303-275-4366


October 2008 - Kohl’s Department Stores implements a diverse strategy for its U.S. operations, known as the "Kohl’s Green Scene." The strategy includes an annual renewable energy purchase of approximately 236 million kWh, making the retailer the 15th largest U.S. renewable energy purchaser, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Green Power Partnership program. In recognition of the purchase and Kohl’s other green initiatives, Kohl’s received an EPA Green Power Leadership award at the 2008 Renewable Energy Marketing Conference.

The purchase of RECs from various renewable energy sources represents about 20% of the company’s U.S. electricity use. Kohl’s REC suppliers include the City of Dover, Neuwing Energy Ventures, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Sterling Planet, and WM Renewable Energy.

Kohl’s other green initiatives feature on-site solar-powered energy generation either installed or planned for 130 stores in six states, with over 100 stores currently earning the EPA’s Energy Star label for superior energy efficiency and environmental performance. In addition, a total of 45 Kohl’s stores are expected to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008. Other initiatives include the installation of automated demand response controls at store locations to reduce power usage during peak energy periods, high efficiency lighting retrofits, cardboard recycling, and efficient freight distribution, through which the company conducts more than 30% of its inbound transportation via rail.

News Article - Kohl’s Green Retail Efforts Worth Checking Out

Additional Information - Kohl’s Green Initiatives


October 2007 - The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) announced a new program through which its customers will be able to buy power produced from large-scale solar installations in the region. Under the new SolarShares program, all of the utility's customers, including renters and occupants of multi-unit buildings, will have the option to purchase solar energy for at least 10% and up to 50% of their electricity needs and can subscribe at a fixed, SMUD-subsidized price in increments that match their energy use. To supply the program, SMUD has solicited proposals from solar developers for one-megawatt projects in the utility's service area. The program is designed to complement the utility's existing Greenergy program, through which customers can purchase renewable energy derived from wind, biomass, and solar energy resources for up to 100% of their electric needs.

News Release - Soon Everyone Can Own a Piece of the Sun (PDF 40 KB) Download Acrobat Reader


December 2006 - Twenty-eight companies, organizations and individuals were recognized with national achievement awards at the Eleventh National Renewable Energy Marketing Conference. The Green Power Leadership Awards recognize actions that are significantly advancing the development of renewable electricity sources through renewable energy markets. The awards are presented by the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Center for Resource Solutions.

Among green power purchasers, the highest honors went to Aspen Skiing Company, HSBC-North America, Johnson & Johnson, Starbucks, and Whole Foods Market, who were named Partner of the Year. Portland General Electric was named Green Power Program of the Year and Silicon Valley Power won for New Green Power Program. Jim Burke of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, and Brent Alderfer and Eric Blank of Community Energy Inc. received the Green Power Pioneer Award.

News Release - 2006 National Green Power Award Winners Announced

More Information - Green Power Leadership Awards


October 2005 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) honored a group of organizations committed to advancing the development of green power markets in the United States. The annual Green Power Leadership Awards, recognizing leading national green power purchasers and suppliers, were presented on October 24 at the Tenth National Green Power Marketing Conference in Austin, Texas.

EPA and DOE presented awards for green power purchasing to 29 organizations. The highest honor in purchasing, the Green Power Partner of the Year Award, was presented to HSBC North America, Johnson & Johnson, the U.S. Air Force and WhiteWave Foods Company. Additional Purchaser Award winners included: Alameda County, California; Aspen Skiing Company; the Atlantic Golf division of the Brick Companies; Dagoba Organic Chocolate; FedEx Express Oakland, California Hub Facility; City of Fresno, Calif.; Green Mountain Coffee Roasters; Harvard University; the Hyatt Regency Dallas and the Hyatt Regency Dallas-Fort Worth; Mohawk Fine Papers; Safeway Inc.; St. Francis Winery and Vineyard; Starbucks Coffee; The University of Minnesota, Morris; the City of Vallejo, Calif.; Western Washington University; Whole Foods Market – Rocky Mountain Region; and the World Bank Group.

Seven awards were also presented to organizations demonstrating notable success in marketing and encouraging green power program participation. The highest honor, Green Power Program of the Year, was presented to Austin Energy's GreenChoice Program for the second consecutive year. Other Supplier Award winners included 3 Phases Energy; Enel North America, Inc.; Florida Power & Light; PacifiCorp's Blue Sky Program; PECO WIND and Community Energy; and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

CRS presented Green Power Market Development Awards to organizations and individuals showing leadership in building and shaping the market for renewable energy. Recipients included 3 Phases Energy, Gainesville Regional Utilities, Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Blair Swezey of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

More Information - 2005 Award Ceremony Booklet (PDF 1.1 MB) Download Acrobat Reader


March 2000 - Expressing disappointment with customer participation to date, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) wants to step up the marketing of its green pricing program. The utility's "Greenergy" program offers customers the option to receive either 50% or 100% of their electricity from renewable resources for an additional 0.5¢/kWh or 1.0¢/kWh, respectively.

According to a March 6th article in The Sacramento Bee, SMUD would like to see program participation increase to at least 7% of all customers from the existing rate of about 1.4%. SMUD staff plan to submit a detailed marketing plan to its board of directors in May or June.


December 1999 - According to a November 28th article in the Sacramento Bee, a new, 8.3-MW electric generating facility constructed at Sacramento County's Kiefer landfill is now providing power for Sacramento Municipal Utility District's (SMUD) Greenergy program. SMUD signed a 15-year contract to purchase the entire plant output.

SMUD will pay 2.9¢/kWh for the power, which is estimated to cost 3.5¢/kWh to produce; the county hopes to make up the rest from federal subsidies. In turn, SMUD will sell the power to its 6,300 Greenergy customers, who pay an extra 1¢/kWh on their electric bills for 100% green power.

News Article - Transforming trash into kilowatts - No longer online at sacbee.com


September 1998 - Bud Beebe at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District reports that signups for the utility's Greenergy program have more than doubled during 1998 to 4,500 customers or about 1% of total residential customers. He attributes the growth to the use of envelope "bangtails" (the detachable flap on the back of the bill payment envelope) and marketing efforts at summer concerts and home shows. The Greenergy program allows SMUD customers to choose to receive 100% of their power from renewable energy sources for an additional rate charge of 1.0¢/kWh or a 50% renewables service for an additional 0.5¢/kWh. Beebe made his comments at IBC's 2nd Annual Marketing Green Power Conference on September 18.


August 1998 - Calpine Corporation has completed its purchase of a 72-megawatt geothermal power plant from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). SMUD will purchase 50 megawatts of electricity from the plant, located in The Geysers area of northern California, through 2001 at market prices, plus a renewable power premium. SMUD also received an option to purchase 10 megawatts of peak power production from 2002 through 2005. Calpine will sell electricity not committed to SMUD into California's green power market.


February 1998 - The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) announced that it will purchase power from an 8.3-MW landfill gas plant scheduled to come on-line in December 1998. This project will be one of the first newly constructed renewable resources to supply power for SMUD's Greenergy program.


November 1997 - Calpine Corporation, of San Jose, California, has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) to acquire an existing 72-MW geothermal power plant. SMUD will purchase at least 50 MW of the power from the plant and Calpine will market the remaining electricity into California's green power market. With the purchase expected to be completed in July, Calpine could begin marketing power as early as August.


August 1997 - In June 1997, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) rolled out two new Greenergy programs for both residential and commercial customers. The Renewables Energy Option gives customers the option to buy all or part of their electricity from new grid-based renewable resources at a cost of between 0.5 and 1.0¢/kWh in excess of the present rate. The Community Solar program allows customers to contribute 1.0¢/kWh for the purchase and installation of photovoltaic systems on schools, churches, and other community facilities. SMUD has selected the Sacramento Zoo as the initial site for the Community Solar program.

In PV Pioneer news, the SMUD Board of Directors approved a $9.4 million contract for at least 2.5 megawatts of building-integrated photovoltaics through 2002. As a result, homebuyers within SMUD's service territory will soon be able to purchase new homes powered by solar shingles, which will generate about 75 percent of the average yearly electricity needs for each home. Homeowners will own their systems and have the opportunity to sell any surplus power back to the utility. SMUD will buy-down half of the cost of the $17,000 systems.


May 1997 - The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) approved two new green pricing options for full-service customers: a renewable energy option and a solar option, which will become available to customers on June 1, 1997. The renewable energy option, called the Greenergy Program, will blend renewable resources and is limited to specific renewable energy contracts. It will be offered to customers for an additional charge of from 0.5¢/kWh to 2¢/kWh. The solar option, called the Community Solar Program, will involve a 1¢/kWh to 2¢/kWh premium charge to fund construction of a solar system at a community site. This solar option is being offered in addition to SMUD's Solar Pioneer rooftop PV program.


March 1997 - The PV Pioneers program at SMUD is a program in which customers elect to pay a $4 flat monthly fee for 10 years to have a 2-4 kW grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) panel installed on their rooftops. SMUD installs, operates, maintains, and owns the hardware. Total participation in the program as of January 1996 was 350 customers for a total of 1216 kW. SMUD receives approximately 1000 new applicants each year and has added approximately 100 customers to the program each year since 1993. The PV Pioneers program is one piece of SMUD's overall PV commercialization program.

SMUD contacts: Bud Beebe (916) 732-5254 and William Layne (916) 732-6644


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