Jan 30, 2008

Rancho California Water District Plant to Run on Solar Power

Running treatment plant on solar power expected to save $4 million over time

Southern California’s Rancho California Water District is discussing plans to use solar panels to power its wastewater treatment plant, a move expected to save the district nearly $4 million over the next 20 years, while providing an earth-friendly means of electricity, the Press-Enterprise reported.

The project would add 5,370 solar panels on 9 acres next to the Santa Rosa Water Reclamation Facility in Murrieta, according to the paper.

The plant, which also is undergoing an expansion, processes 2.7 million gallons of wastewater a day, enough to service 10,000 homes.

It is the first solar-energy project for the Temecula, Calif.-based district, which serves more than 120,000 people.

The water district wants to save on electricity while reducing the district's carbon emissions, spokeswoman Meggan Reed said.

The plant would still be hooked up to Southern California Edison, although solar energy would provide most of its power.

The panels will cost about $225,000 to install, but once built, the panels will save the district $3.88 million in electric costs over the next 20 years, Reed said.

The start date for the project is June, and the panels will take an estimated seven months to build, Reed said.

The Engineering and Operations Committee of the district board of directors must give final approval to the solar panels and the expansion, the paper reported.