Graduation Date

Spring 2018

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Environmental Systems, option Energy, Technology, and Policy

Committee Chair Name

Arne Jacobson

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Kevin Fingerman

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Peter Alstone

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Environmental Systems


The adoption of Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s (RCEA’s) Community Choice Energy program in May of 2017 across Humboldt County has sparked interest in locally produced energy from solar photovoltaics (PV). RCEA has a goal of bringing 5 Megawatts (MW) of local, utility-scale, solar PV under contract by 2018 and 15 MW by 2023. Humboldt County’s former mill sites offer features that make them suitable for hosting PV development. This study performed an inventory and analysis of these sites to answer two questions: Can Humboldt County’s former mill sites provide the hosting capacity for15 MW of local, utility-scale solar PV? Which of these sites have the most suitable conditions for hosting a utility-scale solar PV installation? A total of 37 sites were identified, and data were collected regarding six key criteria: available area, solar resource, grid hosting capacity, distance to nearest transformer, land acquisition cost, and land use compatibility. These criteria were used to score and rank sites based on their potential to act as utility-scale PV hosting sites. Overall there were 37 sites with enough available area to host 148 MW of PV capacity, limited to 18 MW given the current constraints on utility grid hosting capacity. Using these sites could satisfy the local demand for 15 MW of utility-scale solar PV without significant grid upgrades. The sites with the greatest potential were the Pilot Lumber, Hoopa Timber, Cal Pac, Pacific Lumber Fortuna, Blue Lake Biomass, Pacific Lumber Yager Camp, Crown Simpson Mill, Georgia Pacific, DG Fairhaven and Cascade Forest sites.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location