City of Lancaster Zero Net Energy Home Ordinance Approved by California Energy Commission

Lancaster, CA. October 12, 2017 – The City of Lancaster has achieved yet another milestone toward its sustainability goals. Committed to developing a zero net energy community, which produces more energy than it consumes, Lancaster officials and staff continue to pursue avenues that substantiate a truly sustainable blueprint for the City. Toward this end, the City of Lancaster yesterday received approval from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to implement the City’s recently established Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Home Ordinance. The first of its kind in California, Lancaster’s ZNE Home Ordinance mandates the installation of a solar system equivalent to two watts per square foot for each new home built, beginning in 2017. Since this requirement exceeds the State’s current mandate, which is established by the CEC, it is considered a reach code and, therefore, necessitated the CEC’s approval before implementation.

“This is a tremendous next step for our community and the Lancaster City Council’s vision of establishing Lancaster as one of the world’s first zero net energy cities,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “We have no reservations regarding acting first and setting the stage with progressive leadership, particularly when it comes to making decisions which will not only benefit our residents with cost savings, but also help to mitigate climate disruption on a much larger scale. I truly hope other municipal leaders will step up and do what is right for their citizens, and society at-large.”

The Zero Net Energy Home Ordinance was initially reviewed in November 2016 by the Lancaster Planning Commission, which recommended the ordinance to the Lancaster City Council the following month. In February of this year, the ZNE Home Ordinance was approved by the Council, and the process for receiving CEC approval began.

In order to comply with the ZNE Home Ordinance, builders have three options: provide a solar component; offer mitigation fees in lieu of a solar component; or arrange for a combination of both. All three options benefit the homeowner.

The builders’ first option is to install a solar component comprising two watts per square foot, based on the size of each home constructed. This option generates a zero-balance energy bill for the homeowner.

The second option available allows builders to pay a Zero Net Energy mitigation/in lieu fee, instead of installing a solar component. The mitigation/in lieu fee is equal to $1.40 per square feet of each constructed home. With this option, the homeowner receives credits for the new Lancaster Choice Energy(LCE) ZNE Home Rate. This special rate will provide the homeowner with a 50% discount on the energy generation portion of their LCE bill for 20 years. The discounted rate does not apply to the transmission and delivery portion of the consumer’s electric bill — the cost of which is charged by Southern California Edison, and not LCE.

As a third option, the builder may choose to combine the two methods listed above. Instead of the size of the solar installation being directly calculated based on the exact square footage of the home, builders can install a two kilowatt (2,000 watt) solar system on each new home of 1,000 square feet or less. For larger homes, the builder then pays a ZNE mitigation/in lieu fee of $1.40 for the remaining square footage of the home (footage exceeding 1,000 square feet). As with option two, the homeowner will receive the LCE ZNE Home Rate – a 50% discount on their generation rate for the next 20 years.

State Senate Designates City of Lancaster as an Alternative Energy Research Center of Excellence for the State of California

Senate Resolution 62, Introduced by Senator Scott Wilk, Recognizes the City of Lancaster’s many Successful Alternative Energy and Climate Change Initiatives

Today, the California State Senate passed a resolution recognizing the City of Lancaster’s many successful Alternative Energy and Climate Change initiatives. Senate Resolution 62, introduced by Senator Scott Wilk (R – Antelope Valley), passed by a vote of 36-0; designating the City of Lancaster as an Alternative Energy Research Center of Excellence for the state of California.

“It is with great honor and humility that we receive this prestigious designation,” said City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “We look forward to continuing to implement many more innovative projects, in order to live up to the very high expectations which accompany such a designation.”

Senate Resolution 62 highlights the City of Lancaster for establishing itself as a global leader in implementing partnerships and initiatives, in order to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change; as well as for being recognized and honored regionally, nationally and internationally as an exemplary municipal leader in the field of alternative energy.

In 2015, the City of Lancaster became the first municipality in Southern California Edison territory to form a Community Choice Aggregator, as well as its own utility service provider, Lancaster Choice Energy. More recently, the City proactively formed a hybrid joint powers authority, the California Choice Energy Authority; so that it could more easily assist other municipalities in achieving their own Community Choice Aggregation goals — such as, ‘taking back the power’ by gaining local control of their energy rates.

“Senate Resolution 62 recognizes the City of Lancaster for its innovative and revolutionary efforts to implement alternative energy initiatives and projects,” said Senator Wilk.

“Policymakers throughout the state recognize and commend Lancaster for its advancements in the field of alternative energy.”
Due in large part to these innovative efforts, in 2013, Lancaster was able to become home to the North American production plant of world-renowned electric vehicle manufacturer Build Your Dreams (BYD). The plant has already resulted in hundreds of well-paying production, engineering and management jobs in the Antelope Valley region. In addition, the company is expected to soon expand operations within an upcoming large-scale expansion of the plant.

The City of Lancaster has also been working closely with its local Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) in order to ensure North Los Angeles County will soon be home to the nation’s first 100% electric bus fleet. In fact, just last week, the Lancaster-based BYD plant delivered the first all-electric articulated bus to be added to AVTA’s growing electric fleet. The bus has already carried hundreds of north county residents to and from work, school, and other destinations.

“I strongly feel that in order for cities to succeed within this increasingly competitive world marketplace, it is imperative that we at the national, state and local levels work together to assure we are providing as business-friendly an environment as possible,” added Mayor Parris. “Senator Wilk and I will continue to work closely together to ensure Lancaster remains a leader in these endeavors. It is only through such partnerships that we can secure a safe and prosperous future for our residents. I’m excited about all of the future initiatives we will work on together, along with the state of California, to advance our nation’s goals.”

City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris Delivers Keynote Speech at Annual Net Zero Conference

Lancaster, CA. August 28, 2017 – City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris delivered the keynote address at the Net Zero 2017 Conference last Thursday afternoon. Organized by Verdical Group, a leading green building consulting firm, and held at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ IBEW/NECA Net Zero Plus Facility in Commerce, California, the annual conference is the nation’s largest event dedicated to net zero building design.

“If we truly want to ensure a clean energy world for the generations to come, it is up to those of us at the local level to implement change,” said City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “As a municipality, we had to step up and help our community take back the power. Now, the City of Lancaster has far exceeded what anyone believed it was capable of as a local government entity, becoming the Alternative Energy Capital of the World in a relatively short period of time.”

Positioning Lancaster as a world leader in climate change, over the past eight years Mayor Parris has boldly led the City’s charge toward sustainability – on a mission to make Lancaster one of the first zero net energy cities. The City has accomplished a number of unprecedented “firsts” in the sustainability sphere, including: becoming the first City in the nation to make residential solar mandatory and being the first city in California to mandate Zero Net Energy standards for new homes. Lancaster is also the first city in Southern California Edison territory to break away and forge its own Community Choice Aggregator (or CCA) and energy utility (Lancaster Choice Energy), as well as purchasing nearly 19,000 of its streetlights from SCE in order to convert them to energy-efficient LEDs.

Not only will Lancaster soon be Zero Net Energy, the City will also be home to the first 100% all-electric public transit bus fleet in North America, expected to be completed in 2018. In addition, the Build Your Dreams (BYD) electric bus manufacturing facility located in Lancaster is expanding – tripling its production capacity and creating hundreds of local jobs.

Due to the success of these many initiatives, Mayor Parris has become a sought out speaker on sustainability, both nationally and internationally, with the City taking on a mentorship role for a number of other municipalities. As such, Mayor Parris had much to share with the hundreds of Net Zero 2017 Conference attendees regarding climate change on a local level. The audience was enthusiastic, as the positive impact of expanding sustainability efforts was outlined and emphasized as a key influencer of Lancaster’s growing job market and strengthening local economy.

“Mitigating climate change at the local level gives us the power to create public-private partnerships and generate hundreds of local jobs in the process,” said Mayor Parris. “Working toward sustainability is not only the right thing to do – it just makes sense on so many levels.”

Lancaster Unveils ebee EV Chargers on Lancaster BLVD

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Lancaster Gets Charging Stations

“Lancaster has paired up with a German company to provide electric vehicle charging stations at the base of five streetlights in the downtown area.

The charging units made by Ebee Smart Technologies GmbH in Berlin have been installed throughout Europe.

A grant from the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District covers 80 percent of the cost of installation, operations and maintenance costs as well as five years of data collection. The balance is being picked up by private-sector sponsors, including Eluminocity in Munich, the company that makes the outer housing of the charging units. The cost, if any, to users was not specified.

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said the city was excited about the venture with Ebee.

“The city of Lancaster is at the forefront of alternative energy developments because of our commitment to progress through innovation and collaboration,” Parris said in a prepared statement.”

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Article written by Mark Madler from the San Fernando Business Journal

June 26, 2017

City of Lancaster, CA Partners with ebee Smart Technologies to Launch BLVD Streetlight Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Today marks the launch of the City of Lancaster’s BLVD Streetlight Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging demonstration, a cutting-edge project which seamlessly integrates EV chargers into five streetlights along the City’s popular central downtown destination, The BLVD. These charging units are made by ebee Smart Technologies, whose innovative controller technology makes installing public and semi-public charging cheaper, faster, and more flexible by incorporating charging units into existing infrastructure, such as streetlights. Already a market leader in Europe, with approximately 10,000 controllers installed in EV charging units throughout the European Union (EU), ebee Smart Technologies holds a key to accelerating advanced clean transportation in California, as well as internationally.

“We bring knowledge from decades in the international automotive industry and have applied it to make installing state-of-the-art EV charging technology simpler and more cost-effective for cities and workplaces,” said ebee Smart Technology CEO Dr. Henning Heppner, who traveled from Berlin, Germany for the ceremony. “We’re excited to bring our solutions to North America and to partner with the City of Lancaster on realizing their vision for a more sustainable community.”

Lancaster’s BLVD Streetlight EV Charging demonstration project is a collaboration engaging local and regional government with private enterprise. A grant from the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District (AVAQMD) will cover 80% of the total project cost, which includes installation, operations and maintenance, as well as five years of data collection. The remaining 20% will be covered by private sponsors, which include ebee Smart Technologies’ partners, EasyCharge and eluminocity, the company which created the outer housing of the charging units.

The project host is the City of Lancaster, CA – a natural home for this zero emissions transportation infrastructure demonstration, given the City’s strong and far-reaching commitment to advancing clean energy solutions.

“The City of Lancaster’s sustainability platform thrives on integrating new technologies – that are not only leading the way for sustainable industry advancement, but also offering affordable options, such as these charging units which can be utilized by nearly any infrastructure base for the benefit of many. Our goal is to not only better our environment, but to increase the overall quality of life for our residents,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “I am continuously astonished by all of the wonderful ideas coming to fruition and making ‘greener’ living tangible for communities around the globe. There are no more excuses for not transitioning to clean energy resources.”

“As municipal leaders, we understand and embrace the value of public-private partnerships, both domestically and abroad,” concluded Mayor Parris. “The City of Lancaster is at the forefront of alternative energy developments because of our commitment to progress through innovation and collaboration. This is evidenced by our many successes with companies such as BYD and KB Home. We could not be more excited about this new venture with ebee Smart Technologies, and are looking forward to the ongoing deployment of EV charging stations throughout our City.”

City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris Keynote Speaker at San Diego Community Choice Energy Forum 2017

Lancaster, CA. March 10, 2017 – City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris today delivered the keynote address at the San Diego Community Choice Energy Forum 2017, conveying the importance and impact of the City of Lancaster’s numerous sustainability and climate change initiatives. The event — which is hosted by the Climate Action Campaign, Renovate America, and the San Diego Energy District — was designed to provide government, business, and community leaders with a thorough understanding of community choice energy. The City of Lancaster has been leading the way with its new Lancaster Choice Energy utility, as well as a number of other unprecedented initiatives within the sustainability sphere. As such, Mayor Parris had much to share with the hundreds of attendees regarding both community choice energy and climate change.

 

“Community choice aggregation is all about taking back the power. It allows municipalities to have more influence on the future of their communities and more options for setting sustainable practices in place, while providing numerous benefits for their residents,” said Mayor Parris. “Pursuing community choice aggregation with our Lancaster Choice Energy utility has drastically advanced Lancaster’s sustainability efforts, as we continue to aggressively pursue our goal of soon becoming a Net Zero city.”

Launched in May 2015, Lancaster Choice Energy (LCE) is Lancaster’s locally-controlled electricity provider, created to offer residents and businesses within the City of Lancaster a viable alternative to traditional investor-owned utilities — while offering more affordable rates and higher renewable content. More information regarding LCE may be found at www.LancasterChoiceEnergy.com.

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City of Lancaster and sPower Announce Completion of First 10MW Renewable Energy Project in Support of Lancaster Choice Energy

Lancaster, CA. December 16, 2016  – Marking yet another milestone in its journey toward Zero Net Energy status, today the City of Lancaster and sPower, an independent energy producer, announced that the Western Antelope Dry Ranch utility-scale solar power facility became operational at the beginning of this month. This new facility is now producing 10MW of renewable energy, which supports the City’s Lancaster Choice Energy (LCE) utility.

“The completion of sPower’s first renewable energy project specifically for LCE is a truly momentous milestone,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “sPower has been, and continues to be, an innovative partner in Lancaster’s efforts to become a Zero Net Energy City.”

In August of 2016, the City of Lancaster joined sPower to break ground on the Western Antelope Dry Ranch project. Over the past few months, a crew of approximately 80 workers installed more than 41,000 photovoltaic (PV) modules, placing them on special tracking mounts which allow the panels to capture energy more efficiently than stationary panels. Now that the facility is operational, it will provide enough renewable energy to power more than 1,800 homes in Lancaster, ensuring low energy costs for LCE customers while also advancing the City’s Zero Net Energy goals.

sPower has already invested $1.6 billion, providing direct and indirect economic benefits to the City of Lancaster and the surrounding area. The company has plans for continued investment and creation of high quality jobs to support the City in achieving its Zero Net Energy goals.

About Lancaster Choice Energy (LCE):
Lancaster Choice Energy (LCE) is the new, locally-controlled electricity provider, created to offer residents and businesses within the City of Lancaster a viable alternative to traditional investor-owned utilities, while offering more affordable rates and higher renewable content. Visit www.LancasterChoiceEnergy.com for more information.

About sPower:
About sPower: Headquartered in Salt Lake City, with offices in San Francisco, Long Beach and New York City, sPower is the largest private owner of utility-scale operating solar assets in the United States (more than 150 utility and commercial distributed electrical generation systems). To date, sPower has deployed more than $2 billion of capital for its solar and wind projects. With 7.0 gigawatts between operating, construction and pipeline, sPower is actively buying select utility-scale renewable assets in virtually any stage of development in the U.S. www.sPower.com.

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City of Lancaster Flips the Switch on the Holiday Season with Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Lancaster, CA. December 15, 2016 – Tuesday night, joined by special guest Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, the City of Lancaster hosted its annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, complete with carolers and a visit from Santa Claus himself. For the second year, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies helped Santa deliver special gifts to a number of deserving boys and girls from throughout the community.

“Christmas is the perfect opportunity for the community to gather together in celebration of the true meaning of the season – the joy of giving,” said Mayor R. Rex Parris. “When we focus on ‘giving back’ to those around us, we create a spirit of true community. I encourage residents to ponder how they can give back – not just during the holidays, but throughout the entire year.”

During the ceremony, ten lucky children were surprised with the gift of a new bicycle, presented to them by Sheriff McDonnell, local deputies, and Santa Claus. These gifts represent just a small portion of a much larger bicycle giveaway taking place throughout the Lancaster community. This larger giveaway is being coordinated by the City of Lancaster, Antelope Valley Sheriff’s Boosters, Wal-Mart, and Grace Chapel, with hundreds of bicycles being donated to local children during this year’s holiday season.

Following the bicycle presentation, the children joined Santa and City officials to light the Christmas tree. Dedicated to the City of Lancaster on February 14, 1986, City Hall’s Christmas tree serves as a reminder of the community’s strength and unity.

“Christmas time is an opportunity to make every child feel special,” added Vice Marvin Mayor Crist. “We thank those who have partnered with us for the bicycle giveaway, not only for their role in spreading holiday cheer to children throughout the Antelope Valley, but the many ways they contribute to improving our community’s quality of life on an ongoing basis.”