California water facilities reduce operating costs via solar

03. January 2012 | Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By:  Shamsiah Ali-Oettinger

SunPower Corp. has announced the completion of four solar power systems, totaling 3.8 MW at public water agencies and water treatment facilities in California. The systems aim to reduce costs and relieve strained public budgets.

SunPower has helped to decrease energy costs at the water treatment facilities.

"Water agencies and facilities typically have huge energy demand and a responsibility to rate payers to minimize operational costs, and these California facilities are no exception," stated Howard Wenger from SunPower.

Two of SunPower's systems are installed at the Rancho California Water District (RCWD) in Riverside County. One is a 1.1 MW system at Senga Doherty Pump Station and the other a 612 kW solar parking canopy at the RCWD headquarters.The RCWD headquarters system is said to be able to offset 95 percent of the electricity costs. The one at Senga, 55 percent. This totals the savings to approximately US$4.3 million over the next 20 years.

The other two recently completed projects are the one MW installation at Castaic Lake Water Agency's Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant in Santa Clarita and a 983 kW system for City of Galt's Wastewater Treatment plant. Both facilities use SunPower's T0 trackers. Galt Mayor Barbara Payne stated, "The system will generate the equivalent of approximately 90 percent of the total electricity demand at our facility, resulting in savings we can pass on to our rate payers."

The RCWD systems were financed with the low-interest Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds available as a result of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The latter two, were financed through solar power purchase agreements with SunPower.

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