City and Company Officials in California Complete Solar Power Plant

April 29, 2011
The plant showcases officials’ efforts to reduce operating costs and carbon footprint at water facility

Local officials in Coachella, Calif., announced Thursday that a concentrator-photovoltaic power plant at the city’s water reclamation plant is complete. The solar-power installation was developed by Johnson Controls and Solar Power Partners Inc., and will offset 40% of the reclamation plant’s daytime energy consumption.

The plant has been built on disturbed land, which had limited potential use until officials envisioned employing this land for renewable power generation. Using an innovative financing structure, officials leased the land to the solar company and will sell electricity to the water reclamation plant under a long-term power purchase agreement.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, energy costs can account for 30% of the total operation and maintenance costs of wastewater treatment plants, which account for approximately 3% of the electric load in the U.S. Demand for electricity at such plants is expected to grow by approximately 20% over the next 15 years.

Source: City of Coachella, Calif.