Sacramento Municipal Utility District Projects

Photo of a multiple lane highway with a cement divider in the middle and traffic heading in opposite directions on each side of the divider. Solar panels are visible on a grassy area along one side of the highway.

This altered photo shows how the SMUD CommRE Solar Highways "Midtown" project may look when concentrator photovoltaic technology has been installed along California Highway 50.
Courtesy of SMUD

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The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) in Sacramento, California, is looking to local renewable resources to help meet its aggressive renewable energy supply goal of 37% by 2020. To help achieve this goal, the U.S. Department of Energy provided more than $5 million in funding for four SMUD Community Renewable Energy Deployment (CommRE) projects.

Solar Highways

SMUD will deploy about 1.5 megawatts (MW) of concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) technology along California Highway 50 to generate clean, renewable power utilizing existing public land assets. The CommRE project is part of the Sacramento Solar Highways effort in partnership with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). A company called SolFocus will install CPV technology and provide cost-sharing for the project. Through a competitive bid process, another company will be selected to provide flat plate systems to be installed along with the CPV.

View the Solar Highways project timeline.

Biogas Digestion Systems

In addition to the Solar Highways project, SMUD is also implementing the following CommRE projects that focus on biogas.

  • Regional County Sanitation District Wastewater Treatment Facility

    A new process at the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (SRCSD) wastewater treatment facility will co-digest fats, oil, grease, and liquid food waste with sewage to generate biogas. The biogas will be used in the nearby Cosumnes Power plant for approximately 1 to 3 MW in power recovery.

    View the SRCSD Wastewater Treatment Facility project timeline.

  • Dairy Anaerobic Digestion Systems

    Anaerobic digestion systems will be installed at the New Hope and Van Warmerdam dairy facilities, as part of this SMUD CommRE project. The systems will produce biogas used to generate about 1.2 MW of energy.

    View the New Hope Dairy project timeline.

    View the Van Warmerdam Dairy project timeline.

  • Sacramento Recycling and Transfer Station

    The above-ground, complete mix digester at the Sacramento Recycling and Transfer Station will co-digest fruits, vegetables, and other organic wastes. This SMUD CommRE project will generate biogas that will be injected into SMUD's pipeline for use in a nearby generation facility to produce renewable electricity.

    View the Sacramento Recycling and Transfer Station project timeline.

Environmental and Economic Benefits

The Community Renewable Energy Deployment projects will help SMUD meet its 37% by 2020 renewable energy goal. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the projects will also demonstrate that CPV and anaerobic digesters can be readily implemented through collaborative partnerships. Other communities will be able to learn how to avoid siting issues and transmission constraints that pose barriers to renewable energy capacity additions.

Community Outreach

SMUD has created partnerships to implement the CommRE projects with California Bioenergy, Caltrans, Innate Energy, New Hope Dairy, RealEnergy, Sacramento Recycling and Transfer Station (BLT Enterprises), SolFocus, SRCSD, Van Warmerdam Dairy, and Williams Engineering.

SMUD staff has established communication lines with the cities of Sacramento and Rancho Cordova to keep them informed about the CommRE Sacramento Solar Highways project status.

SMUD will partner with the State of California, including the California Energy Commission (CEC), CalTrans, and the California Air Resources Board, to promote replication of their approaches, technologies, and implementation strategies statewide and nationally.

Learn about California's Renewable-Based Energy Secure Communities (RESCO) program funded by the CEC.