Solar Farm for Golden 1 Center to Open in Herald

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HERALD -- The town of Herald may only have a population of just over 1,000, but it's creating big things.

"Sixty acres, 100,000 solar panels, it's just phenomenal what we're going to be able to achieve," Sacramento Kings President Chris Granger said.

The massive solar farm sits about 30-miles away from downtown Sacramento, but it will provide more than 85 percent of the new Golden 1 Center’s electricity.

The other 15 percent will come from solar panels on the roof of the new arena.

On Monday, executives from the Kings, SMUD and First Solar got a special tour of the site, before it opens next month.

SMUD made all of this possible by simply converting Rancho Seco – their former nuclear plant site, into a solar farm.

The 20-year partnership between SMUD and the Kings will provide 11-megawats of power, equal to the amount of electricity it takes to power about 4,000 homes.

"We've agreed to buy all of the output for 20 years, and we know what the pricing is going to be, so we've been able to fix the price for the Kings over a 20 year period," SMUD CEO Arlen Orchard said.

This is part of a program called SolarShares, which allows business customers low-cost solar power.

By using SolarShares, the Kings estimate they will cut back on about 2,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions every year, equal to taking about 400 cars off the roads.

"That's improving air quality in California, as well as bringing down our carbon emissions, so it's a great benefit," Orchard said.

Those benefits include achieving the LEED gold certification, an award the Golden 1 Center received for being environmentally conscious.

"This is really a win-win-win for the sustainability goals of the Kings, we're able to serve SMUD, and enable to help them with their customers' needs," said Jim Woodruff, vice president of state and local government affairs at First Solar.

"I do think we are going to be the greenest arena in the world," Granger said.

Proving that green and purple make a great combination.

The new solar farm in Herald is scheduled to begin operations in July.

Executives hope this paves the way for future, sustainable arenas to be built.