San Diego Business Journal

San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and Sudberry Properties have announced plans to create a “smart energy community” at Sudberry’s master-planned Civita development in Mission Valley.

Plans call for potential installation of several new technologies aimed at making the mixed-use, 230-acre Civita more sustainable and energy efficient, including solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, fuel cell generators, battery storage and enhanced energy management tools for residents.

Financial terms were not disclosed in a statement by SDG&E and the San Diego-based developer of the 230-acre Civita. Plans were announced at a Sept. 24 news briefing in Mission Valley, attended by representatives of SDG&E, Sudberry and city officials.

Sudberry and SDG&E officials said Civita has already installed a 145-kilowatt photovoltaic solar array that powers nearly 100 percent of the common-area electricity consumption at Circa 37, the development’s first apartment community. The development also has six electric vehicle charging stations and has designated four of those for users of the Car2Go vehicle-sharing service.

SDG&E will be installing other smart-grid technologies as the development builds out, including automated switches to enhance power flow to the community and battery energy storage devices to produce and store power locally, the statement said.

The utility and developer also plan to install on-site fuel cells that will supply low-emission electricity to the grid. Energy generated by fuel cells will be captured and used to heat a swimming pool at Civita year-round.

Onsite power sources and “microgrid” advances could allow SDG&E to “island” select buildings and other essential areas within Civita to operate independently of the main grid and keep power flowing to residents during outages.

— Lou Hirsh