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City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris Calls On ASES 2017 Solar Conference Attendees to ‘Take Back their Power’

Mayor Joined on Denver Stage by Senior Officials of BYD, KB Home, and sPower

Lancaster, CA. October 16, 2017 – Last Tuesday, City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris urged attendees of the ASES 2017 Solar Conference in Denver, Colorado, to ‘take back their power’ within their respective municipalities. Mayor Parris was joined on stage by Stella Li, BYD America President; Tom DiPrima, The Chadmar Group; Ryan Creamer, sPower CEO; Jason Caudle, City of Lancaster Deputy City Manager; and Mark V. Bozigian, City of Lancaster Mayor.

The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) designed this annual conference to bring the solar industry’s best and brightest minds together, in an effort to drive progress and affect change throughout the solar energy landscape of the nation. Mayor Parris highlighted the City of Lancaster’s many alternative energy successes, which he attributes to ‘taking back our power’ — with the assistance of strong public/private partnerships.

“Our City’s ongoing journey to becoming one of the first Zero Net Energy communities in the world primarily stems from not being afraid to say ‘yes’ to all the amazing possibilities – as well as the wonderful benefits that come along with creating a more sustainable, renewable city,” said Mayor Parris. “The greatest part of all, is that these partners on stage with me have not been fearful of saying ‘yes’ either.”

Currently serving his fourth term, and ninth year as Mayor of Lancaster, Mayor Parris has led the City of Lancaster on a path toward a more sustainable future. Much of this path has been paved with valuable partnerships, which have become the cornerstone of the community’s alternative energy story.

“Our success, is in large part due to the strength and willingness of our partners to jump in feet first, in order to preserve the planet for our future generations. It’s truly been a beautiful experience,” said Mayor Parris.

The expansion of solar energy throughout Lancaster can be attributed in large part to sPower, who’s partnership with the City of Lancaster has helped bridge the gap between private solar development and public utility services. sPower also serves as a solar energy provider to Lancaster Choice Energy, the City’s municipal electric power utility.

“sPower and the City of Lancaster have established and maintained a mutually beneficial partnership, thanks to the like-mindedness of our company and Mayor Parris,” said sPower CEO Ryan Creamer. “I hope that through events such as this, other municipal leaders will become more confident in their choice to fight for a more sustainable future – and look to the City of Lancaster as an example.”

With KB Home, the City of Lancaster was able to actualize the first affordable Net Zero residential community including solar powered homes, with: electric vehicle charging; battery storage; and even energy efficient roofing materials.

“Watching the first Net Zero community come to fruition was truly an amazing experience. It is proof positive that local governments can in fact make a difference,” said Tom DiPrima of The Chadmar Group. “I cannot wait to see all the new ways the City of Lancaster will continue to set the bar for alternative energy standards. It is my sincerest hope that other cities, states, and the nation will follow suit.”

The City’s ongoing partnership with China-based electric vehicle manufacturer, Build Your Dreams (BYD), has resulted in a number of alternative energy initiatives, which have improved the economy of the entire Antelope Valley region. Just last week, BYD opened its new expansion of its Lancaster-based North American electric vehicle manufacturing facility, with the promise of hundreds of new jobs coming to Lancaster.

“Having now worked with Mayor Parris and the City of Lancaster for a number of years, I have found that when we work together great things happen,” said BYD America President Stella Li. “The best ideas are generated in groups, and partnering with the City of Lancaster has provided some of the most intelligent, and innovative idea generation I’ve encountered. I look forward to many more years of working together for a much brighter tomorrow.”

As a result of these many successful initiatives, Mayor Parris and the City of Lancaster are often looked to for consultation regarding the implementation of alternative energy initiatives. Mayor Parris had much to share with the Solar Conference 2017 attendees, regarding changes that can be immediately implemented at the local level. The audience greeted his words with interest, and hope for a more sustainable future.

“In order to fully ‘take back your power,’ communities such as yours need to first recognize that the largest, most visible changes take place at the local level – not at the state or national level,” said Mayor Parris to the crowd. “Local municipalities can quickly develop public/private partnerships – and in turn enable huge change.”

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris Delivers Keynote to CalCCA Annual Meeting

Lancaster, CA. October 12, 2017– The California Community Choice Association (CalCCA) hosted its 2017 annual meeting last week at the Riverside Convention Center. Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris delivered the keynote address to nearly 200 attendees, who represented both existing community choice aggregators (CCAs) and emerging CCAs. Mayor Parris’ presentation focused on motivating the group members to continue to unite and defend against the overwhelming challenges that community choice electricity providers are enduring in the face of traditional investor-owned utilities (IOUs) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which oversees them.

“These organizations made a decision to take back their power. By localizing power resources and utilizing alternative energy to fuel our communities, we are not only working to save our world for future generations; we are also saving a tremendous amount in costs to ourselves and to rate payers,” said Mayor Parris. “Traditional utility companies are seeing their monopoly of California’s electricity supply slipping away as more CCAs form across the state. They are threatened and devising every scheme possible to shut down community choice aggregation. They will not win, however, if we keep pushing back. We must keep fighting the sustainability fight. We must do everything possible to maintain and facilitate local energy control… if we want our grandchildren to inhabit a livable planet.”

For the past several years, Mayor Parris has traveled worldwide to share the City of Lancaster’s energy story, which touts the City’s journey to becoming not only a municipal leader in alternative energy development, but also one of the world’s first zero-net energy cities. The growing popularity of community choice aggregation has shifted Mayor Parris’ message from one of persuading agencies to join the alternative energy agenda to motivating them to stay in the fight and not give up on all they have worked so hard to accomplish.

The California Community Choice Association represents the interests of California’s community choice electricity providers in the legislature and at state regulatory agencies. CalCCA currently has thirteen Operational Members serving as its Board of Directors, including the City’s utility service, Lancaster Choice Energy (LCE).

In addition to Mayor Parris’ keynote address, the CalCCA meeting hosted several discussion panels, including: The Art of Procurement – Securing Long Term Contracts and Meeting Compliance Obligations; Emerging CCAs – Who are the New Kids on the Block and What are their Challenges and Opportunities?; and, The Role of Elected Officials.

“Opportunities like these are invaluable for bridging relationships, sharing key learnings, and motivating one another to keep fighting the good fight,” added Mayor Parris. “No one should be reinventing the wheel or feeling like a lone island out there, especially when it comes to community choice aggregation. We’ve already led the way, and a multitude of others have also taken up the charge to put the bullies in their place. We have the right to save our resources… the right to save our communities… the right to save our world…. And, we have every intention of doing so.”

Streetlights that Charge Electric Cars Arrive in California City

As the market for electric vehicles continues to grow, electric-car infrastructure will need to keep up with the growing population of them.

To solve the problem, companies are looking at a variety of new and innovative ways to charge more cars without actually taking up more space.

Enter the ebee Smart Technologies streetlight charging station—which has now has arrived in Lancaster, California.

The concept is similar to the Ubitricity streetlight charging stations used in the United Kingdom, but ebee’s approach is a little different.

Instead of outfitting the streetlight with a simple socket, ebee attaches an actual charging station to the streetlight pole.

The strategy may be more fitting for Lancaster where cars don’t necessarily sit on the street parked overnight.

Instead, it invites electric-car owners to park for a period of time while they run errands or do other activities.

The European Ubitricity units house a simple cord that locks, to ensure it doesn’t go missing during overnight charging, while the ebee station has a conventional U.S. cord and plug.

Like Ubitricity, ebee’s solution can save money on infrastructure and take up less space since the needed electrical lines are already in place.

To start, only five streetlights will be outfitted with the charging station equipment in the city’s downtown district.

However, ebee says it has already installed more than 10,000 of its units in Europe.

Of the cost in Lancaster, 80 percent will be covered by a grant, including funds for any needed maintenance and assuring five year’s worth of data collection.

The other 20 percent will be covered by ebee, EasyCharge, and eluminocity, which has crafted the charger housings.

Since California is the largest single U.S. market for electric vehicles, innovations like ebee’s streetlight-charging station can be tested by a sufficient population of plug-in car drivers.


Article and pictures by Sean Szymkowski from Green Car Reports

July 9th, 2017

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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

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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.”