Powering Pleasanton Corporate Commons with clean energy

How DSD overcame numerous challenges to develop this project, including tree removal, utility interconnection delays, and unique accommodations for tenants.

CASE STUDY

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The Challenge

Pleasanton Corporate Commons — an office park in Pleasanton, California that is owned by an entity advised by UBS Asset Management and managed by Hines — was looking to implement onsite renewable energy solutions to achieve sustainability goals and save on energy costs. UBS and Hines issued a request for proposal (RFP) with Black Bear Energy to find a qualified solar developer with plenty of experience implementing onsite commercial solar solutions, as well as deep expertise and roots in the California market.

Given its strong success with solar canopies at corporate campuses and presence in California, as well as optimal canopy designs and the best leasing rates amongst competitors, DSD Renewables was chosen for the job.

A number of challenges stood in the way of the project through the development phases, including obstacles like tree removal, utility interconnection delays, and unique accommodations to mitigate impacts on tenant operations. DSD also executed mid-development project design revisions to accommodate underground utilities. All parties coordinated closely to ensure a valuable solar project was brought to market in a timely manner.

 

The Solution

For the installation, DSD designed a dual-tilt canopy that met local AHJ requirements. The dual-tilt design offered more covered parking than a typical solar carport and greater total energy production, which ultimately led to more savings and a higher lease rate for UBS, in addition to aesthetics that matched the site. This design allowed UBS to achieve the most return on the project, while also benefiting the tenant companies and employees of the business park.

The Execution

Construction on the installation began in August 2022. DSD installed two dual-tilt solar canopies behind-the-meter — one 957 kW and one 429 kW — totaling 1.4 MW. During development, DSD ensured minimal disruption to the office park’s tenants and their daily operations. DSD worked closely with UBS and Hines to accommodate unique interconnection requests and last-minute changes to the project design.

One of the tenants at Pleasanton Corporate Commons has operations that require constant power. Traditionally, there is an interconnection shutdown where power needs to be temporarily turned off to interconnect the project, which would pose a problem for the tenant. However, in this scenario, DSD worked with Hines to install a back-up generator onsite for the tenant, which enabled them to have constant power while the interconnection shutdown took place.

DSD also had to quickly adapt to revise design drawings and relocate pre-designed columns due to the fact that the underground utilities did not align with the pre-construction surveys. To alleviate this, the DSD team got creative and, with strong coordination between UBS, Hines, and a subcontractor on site, was able to shift the project to avoid all of the underground utilities without changing the layout of the structure. The installation was successfully completed in April 2023, and mechanical completion is expected in July 2023.

The design allowed UBS to achieve the most return on the project, while also benefiting the tenant companies and employees of the business park.

The Outcome

Even with the challenges faced, UBS and Hines proved to be excellent collaborative partners, allowing DSD to resolve all of the hurdles during development and deliver beautiful looking canopies for the office park. The successful 1.4 MW installation is expected to generate 2 GWh of renewable energy each year, meeting the office park’s energy needs and allowing UBS to reach their sustainability goals, while also generating revenue and providing tenants with access to affordable clean energy.

A ribbon cutting event for the project was held in April 2023, where UBS, Hines, Black Bear, and DSD came together to unveil the project to the public and celebrate this successful accomplishment.

The Impact

The combined two-canopy installation produces 2,077,767 kWh per year, which is equivalent to:

Avoiding

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