BioStar Renewables announces the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve Solar Research Project (SMER Research 1). Researchers will study the co-habitation of plants and animals within and around a solar field. Company involvement includes BioStar Renewables, BioStar Solar, E Light Electric, Go Green Consultants, Spectrum Energy Development, Aaron Read & Associates, Photogenesis Energy, and San Diego State University. Two cities in Riverside County will purchase the power generated from this project.
Groundbreaking was on April 25, 2017, with the anticipated commercial operation date is December 1, 2017. BioStar Renewables provides turnkey energy solutions across the nation and for the SMER Solar Research project, BioStar Renewables and its subsidiaries will finance, design, construct, own, operate, and maintain the solar power generating facility for the next twenty years with separate Power Purchase Agreements for each city. There will be 11,280 photovoltaic modules, 49 solar inverters and the installation will provide over 6,000,000 kWh annually for 20 years.
A ground lease for 15.9 acres with San Diego State University, the owner of the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve, was previously used to research the growth of an invasive, non-native species of a Eucalyptus tree. The highly flammable Eucalyptus tree poses wildfire hazards in the area, but the SMER Solar Research project will eliminate the fire risks and replace it with a BioStar Renewable Solar Field that will be studied to promote the co-habitation of a solar field and its surrounding ecology, in addition to solar radiation, solar energy, soils, and other meteorological and geotechnical data.
Working in partnership, the BioStar Renewables project at the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve enables San Diego State University and local city governments to build a solar site that is economical and less invasive than traditional distributed solar generation on smaller parcels of land or rooftops.
Initially, the fixed rate solar generated cost will be approximately 10% less than the cost of electricity from the Southern California Edison Company, but the savings will increase over time due to increasing electrical rates. Therefore, for the next twenty years, two cities in Riverside County will have savings through lower energy costs. By utilizing BioStar Renewable’s Solar Generation they will clear a grove of flammable Eucalyptus trees, and as a bonus to San Diego State University, the project will fund a 20-year research project studying the impacts of a solar field on the native habitat, as well as habitat restoration and watershed management. The BioStar Renewables project at the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve demonstrates how renewable energy can be produced in a companionable way with ecosystems and habitats. The benefits are multiple and the BioStar Renewables solution is simply a success story and a role model.