Joint Venture works closely with the highest levels of both the public and private sector to help Silicon Valley develop and manage our region's response to climate change.

We collaborate with regional government agencies, municipalities, supervisors, mayors, city councils, nonprofit organizations and community groups on a variety of projects to enhance sustainability.

Our public sector efforts focus on sustainability efforts in publicly owned buildings. On the private sector side, in 2009 Joint Venture created its Greenprint for Silicon Valley, a comprehensive strategy for leveraging innovations in clean technology to reduce greenhouse gases and make our region more sustainable while growing our economy at the same time.

Joint Venture’s climate initiatives consist of two distinct programs:

Public Sector: Climate Task Force

Since 2007, Joint Venture has convened representatives from many of the public agencies in Silicon Valley through the Public Sector Climate Task Force to develop strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from public agency operations. The program focuses on inventories of greenhouse gas emissions from publicly owned buildings, setting goals for emissions reductions, and the creation of climate action plans. Through the Task Force, members share best practices related to their sustainability efforts, success stories and challenges, and embark on collaborative projects to achieve environmental goals.  Collaborative projects often include purchasing pools for green products and services, such as emissions inventories, tools, and renewable power.

Private Sector: Climate Prosperity Council

The Silicon Valley Climate Prosperity Council brings together businesses, executives and other private sector stakeholders from throughout our region and across multiple sectors to address climate change while growing our local economy. The Climate Prosperity Initiative focuses on four areas based on the California Global Warming Solutions Act and the opportunity to leverage local resources: renewable energy, building efficiency, clean, convenient transportation and green infrastructure. The initiative is guided by our Greenprint, and provides coordination among new and existing economic development and environmental initiatives.

Community Renewables Development Project

Why This Matters

Ensuring access to renewable energy is a key part of promoting climate prosperity in the Silicon Valley region. Until recently, consumers interested in renewable energy had only one option: they had to finance and maintain their own energy generation system. But community-owned renewable energy makes it possible for utilities to provide renewable energy from a single generation site to a multitude of customers in a community.

In addition to expanding access to renewable energy and thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Silicon Valley, community solar would also increase supply by facilitating local generation. Although remote generation still provides broad environmental benefits, local generation supports local jobs, fosters community engagement and identity, and results in an energy procurement program tailored to the region.

How It Works

Community renewable energy ensures that both commercial and residential energy customers can purchase energy that would best meet their needs, as interested customers would be able to non-participating customers could rest assured that hidden costs would not drive up their energy bill.

flow chart showing how community renewable energy works

While the specifics of community renewable procurement could take many different forms, generally a plant owner sells energy via a power purchase agreement (PPA) to an energy offtaker, usually a utility such as Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). The utility would then offer renewable energy produced by the plant to residential and commercial customers under a subscription program. Customers in the program would agree to pay a specified rate for renewable energy, called a Green Tariff. Although high customer affinity generally increases participation in green tariff programs, as residents are more likely to pay more for energy that has a greater visibility and positive impact on their community, remote generation of renewable energy is also possible under this structure. Community renewables grant local leaders the ability to customize a renewable energy procurement program that best fits the needs of their constituency.

SEEDZ Involvement

SEEDZ is currently tracking the California Public Utilities Commission’s rulemaking process for SB 43 “Green Tariff/Shared Renewables Program,” which represents the first opportunity for shared renewable energy development. By allowing customers to buy 100% renewable energy, procured within the territory, directly from the energy offtaker. SEEDZ continues to follow the debate over ratepayer indifference while promoting customer affinity and local generation by meeting with selected parties.

Prior to the passage of SB 43, SEEDZ collaborated with the City of Sunnyvale to produce the Sunnyvale Community Solar Array Development, a study analyzing the feasibility of implementing a 3 MW shared array within city limits. City staff identified either a landfill site or a wastewater treatment pond as potential locations for a mid-sized solar plant. The City Council reviewed the study in late November, and referred the project for further analysis, which will be heavily influenced by the ongoing SB 43 rulemaking process.


SEEDZ Commercial Acceleration for Solar Energy in Silicon Valley (CASE-SV) Program

Why This Matters

Silicon Valley has an incredible amount of rooftop and parking lot space available for solar PV installations. The SEEDZ area alone has more than 31 million square feet of Commercial & Industrial (C&I) building space, 19 million square feet of roof space, and 25-35 million square feet (~1100 acres) of parking lots. Assuming that 30-40% of that area is suitable for solar panels, this area represents roughly 100 MW of energy generating potential. At the current peak load of 175-200 MW, solar energy alone could satisfy a significant percentage of C&I energy requirements. As more businesses realize the long-term benefits of transitioning to renewable energy, CASE-SV helps to address the growing energy demands of commercial, industrial and institutional energy customers while encouraging more effective resource utilization.

Facilitating Aggregated Purchasing

CASE-SV brings together the business community, municipal governments, and supportive organizations in the area to create a unique opportunity to aggregate the purchase of solar energy, making deployment easier, faster, and less expensive in the region.

In order to understand and align the interests of C&I customers and those of municipal agencies, SEEDZ, in partnership with the American Solar Transformation Initiative led by Optony, is currently putting together a working group made up of ‘anchor’ C&I companies and leaders in the public sector. The project has already generated significant interest from both C&I representatives and from several Silicon Valley cities.

CASE-SV is also investigating the ideal implementation of onsite, net-metered renewable energy for C&I customers in addition to a menu of options that go beyond onsite installations. Through specific site analysis, the program will determine the implications of choosing between different types of renewable energy and integration with EV charging infrastructure. The next steps will be to identify high-potential sites for solar power, and to develop a framework for qualifying and matching vendors with participating energy consumers. Ultimately, the project will outline a procurement process for interested C&I customers, and will also provide workshops and education on design options, financing and contracting, in order to facilitate implementation of renewable energy.

Fact Sheets: Commercial Participants (pdf) or Local Government Participants (pdf)


SEEDZ Projects - Distributed Generation

Increasing Access to Renewable Energy

Installation of distributed generation systems continues to expand in Silicon Valley solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in particular. Cumulative installed solar capacity in the greater Silicon Valley area reached 189 megawatts (MW) in 2013, a 30 MW increase over 2012. In addition to solar, landfill gas and other biofuels are being used to produce energy in the area, as are other distributed generation technologies utilizing natural gas, such as fuel cells, and cogeneration systems that convert waste heat into energy. Within the SEEDZ area, approximately 13 megawatts of energy is being produced from 18 distributed generation systems, primarily solar PV, fuel cells, landfill- and bio-gas-fed systems. This represents about 6% of the area’s peak power demand of approximately 200 megawatts.

Opportunities exist to greatly expand use and access to renewables in the SEEDZ area, which has approximately ~1,100 acres of commercial and industrial rooftop and parking lot space, potentially capable of generating over 100 megawatts of solar power. Furthermore, opportunities exist to establish multi-megawatt, community-based renewable energy systems utilizing municipal property for solar and/or biogas energy production, which could serve renewable energy subscribers in the community that cannot otherwise deploy systems at their home or business.

Commercial Aggregation for Solar Energy (CASE) Project

Community Renewables Development Project

Solution Partners

Optony logo

RevGen Consulting logo


Renewable Energy Procurement (REP)

The Renewable Energy Procurement (REP) Projects – regional, multi-agency collaborative purchases of renewable energy for public agency facilities (e.g., city halls, fire stations, libraries, community centers) – include the Silicon Valley Collaborative Renewable Energy Procurement (SV-REP) Project and subsequent Regional Renewable Energy Procurement (R-REP) Project. These projects addressed the challenges facing public agencies in renewable energy adoption, including resource limitations and lack of expertise, while leveraging collaborative procurement to lower costs and negotiate more competitive contract terms. The two projects, SV-REP and R-REP, are the largest multi-agency procurements of renewable energy in the country to date.


construction workersSV-REP was a partnership between Joint Venture and the County of Santa Clara, the Lead Agency, focused on harnessing the benefits of collaborative procurement and utilizing Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) financing. The Request for Proposals, which was released in March 2010, included nine Silicon Valley public agencies and over 70 solar installation sites. To date, the project has installed 11.4 MW of power, the equivalent of planting 2200 acres of trees, providing enough power for nearly 2100 average-sized homes. In total, SV-REP installations will save more than $29 in taxpayer dollars over the next 20 years.

The project has won several local, state, and national awards, including California’s highest environmental honor, the 2011 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA) and 2011 Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) Innovation Award.

Additional information is available on the SV-REP webpage.

Best Practices Guide

Best Practices Guide coverCo-published by Joint Venture, Optony, and the World Resources Institute in early 2011, Purchasing Power: Best Practices Guide to Collaborative Solar Procurement was intended to assist other regions across the country in launching collaborative solar procurement projects. The publication outlines the best practices learned through SV-REP, and includes case studies for both SV-REP and the World Resources Institute’s private sector effort, The Collaborative Solar Project (TCSP). The guide, as well as numerous resources and appendices, are available for public download on the Joint Venture webpage (link).


R-REP logoIn November 2012 we launched the Regional Renewable Energy Procurement Project (R-REP) in partnership with the County of Alameda and the Contra Costa Economic Partnership. The R-REP includes 19 participating agencies across four counties, including cities, counties, special districts and schools, with 180 renewable energy installation sites totaling 30 MW.

Additional information is available on the R-REP webpage.

Contact us

To learn more about this initiative, please contact:

Rachel Massaro
Vice President
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(408) 298-9340


Roundtable Series

SEEDZ EPIC Pre-proposal Roundtable Series

February and March, 2014


Several hundred million dollars in ‘smart energy’ research and deployment grants are being made available under California’s new EPIC program in the coming months. For a high-level presentation of the EPIC program and its relevance to SEEDZ please see SEEDZ EPIC Overview Presentation.

We have planned a series of seven EPIC Pre-proposal Roundtables for interested SEEDZ participants during February and March. The seven roundtables are organized by EPIC funding area: building energy efficiency, electric vehicles, demand response and customer-side storage, distributed generation, grid monitoring and DER integration, innovation cluster, and community and training.


Funding AreaDateTimeLocation

Building energy efficiency

Friday, Feb 21


EPRI – Palo Alto

Electric vehicles

Thursday, Feb 27


EPRI – Palo Alto

Demand response and customer-side storage

Thursday, March 6


EPRI – Palo Alto

Distributed generation

Thursday, March 13


EPRI – Palo Alto

Grid monitoring and DER integration

Thursday, March 20


EPRI – Palo Alto

Innovation cluster

Tuesday, March 25


Joint Venture – San Jose

Community and training

Monday, March 31


Joint Venture – San Jose

The goals of the roundtables are to:

  • convene SEEDZ organizations interested in possibly pursuing EPIC grant funding in a given funding area.
  • review specific related initiatives as currently defined by the CEC.
  • engage in a group discussion of related experience, priorities, and possible proposal approaches and teaming roles.
  • help participants determine degree of fit and interest in teaming to pursue specific EPIC grant opportunities going forward

If you have questions or are interested in participating, please contact:

Phil Metz
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Don Bray
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Joint Venture is actively involved in Silicon Valley's regional response to climate change. We are engaged with dozens of regional and local public and private agencies, municipalities, businesses and other stakeholders in programs and activities designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote sustainable energy and improve the quality of life for all.

Climate Prosperity Documents

A Greenprint for Silicon Valley (pdf)

Press release announcing the launch of the Climate Prosperity Initiative