California solar installation designed for grazing sheep


The Fallon Two Rock Road Solar Farm is now operational, according to partners MCE and Renewable America.

MCE is a not-for-profit electricity provider for more than 585,000 customer accounts and 1.5 million California residents and businesses. The company reports that 60% to 100% of the electricity it sells comes from renewable power, and that it is currently delivering 14 GW. The Fallon installation is MCE’s sixteenth feed-in tariff project to come online in the Bay Area.

Renewable America is a renewable energy developer that specializes in small utility-scale solar storage and community microgrid projects in California. The company reports that it currently has over 320 MW of solar and 680 MWh of energy storage projects under development throughout California.

Fallon is a 1 MW agrivoltaics installation that is expected to produce an estimated 2.3 GW/h annually. Renewable America told pv magazine USA that the project uses 2,240 650W Astronergy bifacial solar modules on 25-degree, fixed tilt OMCO Solar Choice trackers, with 10 Chint Power 100 kW inverters (each power derated to 96kW). The site is expected to power 300 homes and save about 19,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions throughout its 35-year lifetime.

“Renewable America’s motto ‘Think Local. Act Local’, drives us to prioritize local projects like Fallon Two Rock that positively impact local communities. This is our first project with MCE, supporting local clean energy generation and committing to fast-tracking progress toward a clean energy future in California,” said Ardeshir Arian, president & CEO of Renewable America.

Renewable America designed the project to occupy only 3.5% of a 4.5-acre parcel, with the rest remaining in a natural state. The fixed tilt trackers follow the natural slope of the land, so no grading was needed, according to the developer. The project also accommodates sheep grazing between the rows, for natural vegetation management.

Fallon Two Rock was built with nearly 4,000 hours of prevailing wage labor, according to the developer. Prevailing wage is a requirement of the Inflation Reduction Act that developers must meet in order to qualify for a tax credit adder. In essence, the prevailing wage requirements states that the taxpayer (developer) must pay any laborer, mechanic, contractor or subcontractor at the prevailing rates for the location in which the construction takes place, as determined by the Secretary of Labor.

[Read more about prevailing wage guidance here.]

RNA Services LLC, a subsidiary of Renewable America, served as the EPC partner during construction and is continuing its role in operations and maintenance. RNA has also committed $20,000 to MCE for local workforce development.

“Clean energy is just one part of the transition to a sustainable future,” said Katie Rice, MCE board director and County of Marin supervisor. “The additional funding RNA committed will help MCE grow the clean energy economy, providing training opportunities for local residents to enter the green workforce.”

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