MRWPCA And SolarCity complete Megawatt Solar Installation
Monterey CA (SPX) Feb 17, 2011
Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency's (MRWPCA) Board of Directors and SolarCity have completed a a 1.12 megawatt thin-film solar installation at the agency's regional wastewater treatment plant. SolarCity designed and constructed the solar power system; SolarCity will also own, operate, and maintain the system under a power purchase agreement.
MRWPCA will purchase the electricity to power the water recycling plant (Salinas Valley Reclamation Project - SVRP) at a price which will result in a lower blended energy cost than grid generated electricity. MRWPCA's solar power system will generate an estimated 1.7 gigawatt hours (GWh) in the first year of operation, which is approximately two thirds of the electricity needed for the SVRP plant.
The project was completed in coordination with the Monterey County Water Resources Agency (MCWRA). This solar power facility is SolarCity's largest installation in Monterey County, and one of only three megawatt scale projects in the county.
SVRP is the nation's largest water recycling project for raw food crop irrigation. Each day, 20 million gallons of wastewater is treated by MRWPCA. During irrigation months almost all of this flow is processed into recycled water in accordance with California's stringent Title 22 water recycling standards and distributed for irrigation of 12,000 acres of Castroville farmland.
With the 1.12 Megawatt solar system, MRWPCA will be able to reduce the SVRP's carbon footprint by offsetting 65 percent of its power consumption with solar. Over the next 30 years, the solar power system will prevent 60 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, the same amount absorbed by 58,000 trees.
"As an agency, we're committed to finding new ways to be green," said Brad Hagemann from MRWPCA. "We have a lot of pride in the recycled water we produce, but we felt that if we can significantly reduce our carbon footprint, we can make an already environmentally beneficial project even greener. Working with SolarCity, we're able to install a solar system that will offset a large percentage of our energy usage with a renewable source and reduce our operating costs."
MRWPCA is dedicated to providing cost effective, reliable wastewater collection and treatment and producing safe high-quality recycled water for food crop irrigation.
MRWPCA was formed as a joint powers public entity in 1972 to provide regional wastewater collection, treatment and recycling for Pacific Grove, Monterey, Del Rey Oaks, Seaside, Sand City, the former Fort Ord, Castroville, Moss Landing, Boronda, Salinas, Marina and unincorporated areas of northern Monterey County.
The recycled water is used for food crop irrigation in the northern Salinas Valley. Reducing the need to pump water from wells is part of the regional effort to slow seawater intrusion. MRWPCA serves approximately 250,000 people.
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