Location: Elk Grove, CA
Swinerton Renewable Energy Inc. (an EPC contractor) selected Michael Baker International to provide civil engineering, earthwork and grading design for this 9.4 megawatt photovoltaic solar energy plant in Northern California. The project utilized both single-axis tracker and a 400 kW ground-mounted, fixed tilt array to accommodate site constraints that included topographical and environmental challenges. Michael Baker’s engineering team worked closely with the electrical design team to optimize the land area available for placement of the photovoltaic panels on a site with large areas of existing slope and several large areas of avoidance as delineated by federal and state permitting agencies. At the conclusion of the design, the Michael Baker team had achieved the required energy output for the project while minimizing the grading, avoiding all environmentally sensitive areas (wetlands, ephemeral streams, etc.) and meeting the rigid constraints for water quality and stormwater release for post-construction conditions. Michael Baker worked closely with Sacramento County Department of Water Resources to develop a plan for stormwater discharge, the result of which is being used as a template for development of similar projects throughout the County.