Reasons for Exemption
In addition, CEQA exemptions under California Code of Regulations, title 14, sections 15301 and 15303 apply. Section 15301, “Existing Buildings,” covers the operation, maintenance, or minor alteration of existing public or private structures, facilities, mechanical equipment, involving negligible or no expansion of existing or former use. All of the laboratory, manufacturing, and office-type work falls under Section 15301. The installation at the food co-op also falls under this section.
Section 15303, “New Construction or Conversion of Small Structures,” covers construction and location of limited numbers of new, small facilities or structures; and installation of small new equipment and facilities in small structures. The additions of solar PV panels, storage batteries, and ancillary equipment under the grant project fall within these parameters.
The City of Grass Valley’s Community Development Department staff issued a letter, dated March 17, 2020, regarding the PV and battery storage installation at the food co-op in Grass Valley. The Department concluded that the installation would qualify for CEQA exemptions under California Code of Regulations, title 14, section 15301, Existing Facilities, and California Code of Regulations, title 14, section 15303, New Construction or Conversion of Small Structures.
Reasons for Exemption
The project involves testing, design, and installation of an integrated solar photovoltaic energy storage system that incorporates second-life batteries from electric vehicles. The testing and manufacturing will take place at an existing laboratory operated by RePurpose Energy in Fairfield, California. The installation will be at the BriarPatch Cooperative in Grass Valley, California. Additional analytical and/or design work will occur at existing laboratories and/or offices in San Jose and Davis.
The solar photovoltaic panels on the rooftop of the BriarPatch Cooperative and on two carports over part of the parking lot, and the rest of the system, are exempt under California Public Resources Code section 21080.35. This statute exempts from CEQA “the installation of a solar energy system on the roof of an existing building or at an existing parking lot” fitting certain characteristics, which this project fits. (For this project, no trees will be removed. Associated equipment will not occupy more than 500 square feet of ground surface, and the site of the associated equipment does not contain plants protected by the Native Plant Protection Act.)