Jessica Cejnar / Thursday, Jan. 2 @ 6 p.m. / Infrastructure, Local Government

Harbor Commissioners Reconsider Solar Project

After months of delays, Crescent City Harbor Commissioners have resurrected the possibility of moving forward with installing solar panels at the port.

Deputy Harbormaster Lane Tavasci said commissioners approved an extension to a power purchase agreement with Alex Lemus, of Renewable Energy Capital, who is now the managing partner of American Diversified Energy.

Lemus appeared before the Harbor District at a special meeting Monday, Tavasci told the Wild Rivers Outpost, and commissioners approved the extension with the proviso that attorneys representing both parties review the document. According to Tavasci, the harbor’s legal counsel is expected to bring the reviewed power purchase agreement back to the Board of Commissioners at its regular meeting Tuesday.

“It’s a matter of personal pride and ethics because he committed to having this done,” Tavasci said of Lemus. “If all comes to fruition, he’ll be the project manager.”

The Crescent City Harbor District hopes it will save about $35,000 annually on its electricity payments by installing solar panels. The harbor district entered into a power purchase agreement with Lemus and Florida-based Renewable Energy Capital for installing the solar panel system in 2017. In February 2018, commissioners met with American Diversified Energy, of Costa Mesa, which would finance, build and maintain the project.

The solar system would consist of rooftop solar panels as well as carports.

In November 2018, harbor commissioners rejected an ADE request to establish a Dec. 31, 2019 deadline to complete the solar project. Commissioners gave the firm till July 15 to finish all phases of the installation, but that deadline came and went.

In October 2019, Crescent City Harbormaster Charlie Helms told commissioners that most ADE representatives he and Tavasci had worked with were no longer with the company. He had said that about $700,000 in solar panels were at the harbor and suggested that the port could use those as leverage for the Costa Mesa-based firm to finish the project.

According to a summary of the original power purchase agreement between the harbor district and REC, the agreement would last 25 years and would be based on the assumption that the buyer’s current usage is 1 million kilowatt hours.

Under the agreement, the system’s size may be increased to meet a new load from tenants on the same terms.

On Thursday, Helms told the Outpost that Lemus had paid off a lien that the harbor district had placed on the solar panels and apologized. During commissioners’ discussion on Monday, they wanted the port’s legal counsel, Bob Black, to write a performance penalty into the extended power purchase agreement.

“(Lemus) will definitely complete the rooftop sand carports before the end of the fiscal year,” Helms said, adding that Lemus has worked on solar projects in Humboldt County.

The Crescent City Harbor District Board of Commissioners will meet at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the Harbor District office, 101 Citizens Dock Road in Crescent City. For an agenda, click here.


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