Pacific Ethanol Inc (NASDAQ:PEIX), a leading producer and marketer of low-carbon renewable fuels in the United States, announced it is installing a 5 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) power system designed and built by Borrego Solar Systems at Pacific Ethanol’s Madera, California plant. The solar PV system is expected to reduce Pacific Ethanol’s operating costs and improve its carbon score.

Neil Koehler, the company’s president and CEO, stated: “The integration of solar power at our Madera plant underscores our commitment to optimize our plant assets, lower the carbon intensity of our ethanol and reduce our operating costs. We are proud to build the first ever commercial solar electricity system at a U.S. ethanol plant. Pending the completion of interconnection agreements with our local utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., we expect to begin operating the solar PV system at full capacity in early 2018.”

5 MW Solar PV System

Through the displacement of more than 30 percent of the grid electricity currently used, the solar PV system is expected to reduce the Madera facility’s annual utility costs by more than $1 million as well as drive premium pricing on the ethanol produced due to improvements in its carbon-intensity score. The system also qualifies for the Energy Investment Tax Credit, further improving its attractive investment profile.

“Pacific Ethanol represents the new generation of fuel companies—low carbon fuel production powered by zero carbon energy,” said Chris Otness, Borrego Solar project developer. “This will be one of the largest single-site net metered projects in PG&E territory. Historically these types of projects were limited to a single megawatt, but given the recent CPUC NEM 2.0 ruling, large energy users are now able to go above that threshold and offset a significantly larger portion of their overall usage. In addition, by financing this project through PACE, Pacific Ethanol is able to retain full ownership of the system from day one and capture the tax incentives afforded to solar system owners.”

SolarPACE™ Program Financing

Pacific Ethanol financed $10 million of the expected $11 million total investment through the CleanFund SolarPACE program for a term of 20 years, which enables immediate net cost savings and positive cash flow from the project.

Greg Saunders, chief executive officer of CleanFund, stated, “We are honored Pacific Ethanol selected CleanFund as its capital partner and is utilizing our SolarPACE financing partner program to provide long-term financing for a state of the art solar system. The demand for commercial PACE financing continues to grow rapidly because it represents a large-scale opportunity to provide cost-effective, long-term financing for renewable energy, energy efficiency and water conservation measures for most non-residential properties. We are excited to partner with Pacific Ethanol as it leads the way in the deployment of renewable energy power systems at its industrial facilities.” (Original Source)

Shares of Pacific Ethanol closed last Friday at $6.56, down $0.07 or -1.06%. PEIX has a 1-year high of $7.64 and a 1-year low of $2.41. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $6.64 and its 200-day moving average is $5.59.

On the ratings front, Roth Capital analyst Craig Irwin reiterated a Buy rating on PEIX, with a price target of $9, in a report issued on July 29. The current price target represents a potential upside of 37.2% from where the stock is currently trading. According to, Irwin has a yearly average return of -5.0%, a 37% success rate, and is ranked #3871 out of 4183 analysts.

Pacific Ethanol, Inc. produces and markets low-carbon renewable fuels in the Western United States. The company operates through the following segments: Production and Marketing. It produces and markets co-products, including wet and dry corn gluten feed, condensed distillers solubles, corn gluten meals, corn germs, distillers yeast, and CO2. The company was founded William L. Joneson and Neil M. Koehler February 28, 2005 and is headquartered in Sacramento, CA.