Alta Energy and Rawson, Blum & Leon Partner to Bring Solar to Cost Plus Plaza

Solar system at the popular Larkspur, CA shopping center to generate approximately $50,000 ($0.94 per square foot) of new revenue per year.

Rawson, Blum & Leon (RBL), a San Francisco-based real estate owner, developer and manager, in partnership with Alta Energy, a company that empowers enterprises to achieve the economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy, announced the development of a 345 kilowatt direct current (265 kW AC) solar photovoltaic (PV) system at its popular Cost Plus Plaza shopping center in Larkspur, CA. The 53,000 square foot centers rooftop solar system will generate more than 540,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean energy annually, generating approximately $50,000, or $0.94 per square foot, in new revenue per year for RBL.

"Solar energy helps us increase revenue at our Cost Plus Plaza property, while also helping the environment. We believe our tenants and their customers appreciate knowing the property is producing solar energy," said Ari Blum, partner at RBL. "Alta Energy helped us navigate the complexities associated with solar deployment, advised us on the financial structure alternatives and available incentives, and saw the project through completion. Alta Energys neutrality and ability to provide meaningful decision-making information was a key driver to enabling solar for this project."

The energy produced from the Cost Plus Plaza solar system will be sold to MCE, a local public electricity provider, through a standard-offer Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) contract, which incentivizes and supports the development of local renewable energy projects. The clean energy generated will be enough to power 50 homes per year. BayWa Renewable Energy was selected as the project developer and completed the installation of the PV system.

"With this solar project, RBL tapped what is typically a propertys most under-utilized asset - its roof - to generate new income and enhance the return of the real estate asset, while also benefitting the environment," said Jeff Hintzke, Alta Energys vice president of operations. "Alta Energy is proud to have provided RBL with the analytics, financing options, technical assessments and procurement services to make this project become a reality."

MCE, offering the first Community Choice Aggregation program in California, played an important role in the project. Its FIT program allows renewable energy developers within its service area to sell renewable energy to MCE at a fixed price for 20 years. This standard agreement offered by MCE provided a basis for securing the projects financing, as well as a high level of certainty regarding its generated revenue stream. This further assisted RBLs decision to move forward with the project, which in turn benefits the environment by putting more renewable energy on the electrical grid.

"We are pleased to support the Cost Plus Plaza solar project and hope this serves as a local renewable development case study for other businesses, renewable energy entrepreneurs and developers," said MCE CEO Dawn Weisz.

Rawson, Blum & Leon specializes in the acquisition, development and management of commercial real estate. Since its inception in 1974, RBL has acquired and managed more than 50 retail, office and industrial properties throughout the United States with an aggregate value of ~$700M. Over the past 40 years, RBL has built strong relationships with financial institutions, industry partners, investors, and tenants because of its ability to deliver real estate projects as promised.

Alta Energy is a company that empowers enterprises to achieve the economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy. Supported by proprietary analytics, the company provides expert guidance, including analysis, strategy formation and execution to clients that face the challenges, complexities and opportunities of renewable energy. Alta Energy delivers tailored, objective recommendations on renewable energy technologies, vendors and financing options that best meet the needs of each customer and project site. By enabling customers to make smarter energy decisions, Alta Energy is helping to expand renewable energy deployment across the United States. For more information, please visit

MCE is a not-for-profit, community-based electricity provider that gives customers the choice of having 50% to 100% of their electricity supplied from clean, renewable sources such as solar, wind, bioenergy, geothermal, and hydroelectric at competitive rates. MCE provides service to 255,000 California customers in Marin County, Napa County and the cities of Benicia, El Cerrito, Lafayette, Richmond, San Pablo and Walnut Creek. By choosing MCE, customers help support new in-state and local renewable energy projects and jobs. For more information about MCE, visit

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