A Community Energy Strategy for Santa Cruz

The City of Santa Cruz offers an ideal site for a microgrid-based solar plus storage community energy system.  It is located at the end of PG&E’s high voltage transmission lines and experiences more than its share of power fluctuations and outages.  The wildfires and deliberate power blackouts of 2019 and 2020 and rolling outages during the 2020 August and September heat waves, made clear that much of Northern California is at risk from such events


SSRF and its partners propose to be “shovel ready” when it becomes feasible to build such a system.  We are proposing a three-part 20-megawatt solar + storage community energy system, located in a light industrial area on the west side of Santa Cruz, a proposed housing development nearby and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Beach Flats neighborhood, linked by a conduit running along the right-of-way of the Santa Cruz County Rail Trail.  This project will be built in phases, starting a virtual power plant comprising individual buildings and adjacent structures (2021-25), subsequently operated as a single system (2026-28) and, finally, providing power to both customers and the local CCA (2028-30). 

You can read more about our proposal, “A Community Energy Strategy for Santa Cruz,” here.  And you can learn more about microgrids from the resources below.

Web sites

Journal articles & reports