Madera Mayor Gary Svanda and city council members, along with REC Solar, a solar electric system provider in the United States, and SunEdison, a solar energy services provider and subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc., celebrated the activation of a 1.1 megawatt (MW) solar deployment at that city's waste water treatment facility. Ranking as one of the largest of its kind in California, the project required no upfront costs from the city and is expected to meet an estimated 62 percent of the facility's power needs.
The project was jointly developed by REC Solar and SunEdison. REC Solar managed design and construction of the solar power system that covers more than nine acres of land and utilizes cutting-edge dual-axis system trackers along with REC Group solar panels. The trackers allow the mounted panels to follow the sun throughout the day, improving output by more than 35 percent compared to a traditional ground mount system. Under a strategic power purchase agreement (PPA) between SunEdison and the City of Madera, SunEdison will finance, operate and maintain the solar power plant, and the city will purchase the energy produced to offset demand from the grid at predictable energy rates for 20 years.
"This is another important step for the City of Madera," said Mayor Gary Svanda. "Finding ways to reduce costs for taxpayers while reducing our carbon footprint for our children and grandchildren should be a goal of responsible government at all levels. I'm very proud that Madera is leading the way in that transformation."
"The City of Madera will truly benefit from this investment, by achieving a lower cost of electricity for at least the next 20 years," states Keith Helmuth, Madera's City engineer who oversaw the project.
CEO of REC Solar, Angiolo Laviziano, stated, "REC Solar is excited to have participated in the Madera project. The project's size and technical complexity required critical advanced design and planning to ensure its economic success. We are pleased to see the tangible benefits of our expertise in engineering, design, and construction delivered to the city of Madera."
"SunEdison brings all the pieces together," commented Jaime A. Smith, VP of Sales for SunEdison. "Having deployed over 340 sites worldwide since 2004, SunEdison has the experience and leverage needed to make affordable solar solutions a reality for government clients like the city of Madera."
The system is expected to produce and estimated 2.4 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy annually and over 45 million kWh over twenty years. That is enough energy to power more than 4,200 average U.S. homes for one year. The city estimates the power system will meet 62 percent of the waste water treatment facility's power needs. The environmental assets associated with the system will offset an estimated 47 million pounds of CO2 over twenty years, the equivalent of removing an estimated 4,600 cars off the road for one year.