The San Diego County Water Authority has signed a 20-year agreement with San Diego-based Borrego Solar Systems, Inc. to install and operate solar electric power systems at three major Water Authority facilities. Based on today’s energy costs, the Water Authority’s energy cost savings is estimated at nearly $1.7 million over the life of the contract.
Borrego Solar estimates that these systems will produce enough renewable energy over the next 20 years to prevent more than 70 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s the equivalent of planting 180,000 mature trees or conserving nearly 107,000 barrels of oil.
“The Water Authority is committed to making its operations as green as possible and in a cost-effective manner that also saves ratepayer dollars,” said Water Authority Board Chair Michael T. Hogan. “It is important to adopt practices that conserve precious resources, like water and energy, and result in long-term savings for the region’s ratepayers.”
The solar power systems will be installed in the parking lot and on the roof of the Water Authority’s Kearny Mesa headquarters and its Fred A. Heilbron Operations Center in Escondido. They will also be installed atop several large structures at the Twin Oaks Valley Water Treatment Plant north of San Marcos.
The photovoltaic systems use solar panels and inverters to convert sunlight to electricity. This eliminates the need for additional water consumption to operate the systems. Installation is expected to be complete by summer 2011.
Borrego Solar estimates that the systems will generate enough renewable energy to meet 60 percent of the power needs for the Kearny Mesa and Escondido facilities and more than 20 percent of the power needs for the treatment plant.
The systems combined will produce 2.8 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually, enough to power 30,000 homes. The systems are being installed at no cost to the Water Authority under a 20-year power purchase agreement with Borrego Solar. Borrego Solar will be responsible for capital costs of design and construction. Sun Edison will be monitoring the system’s production with its Client Connect solar monitoring service and will provide the long-term operation and maintenance for the systems.