Western Municipal Water District's newly commissioned 916-kilowatt SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR) solar power system is soaking up the sun, delivering an expected savings of up to $4.6 million over the next two decades. The system, located at Western's Operations facility off of El Sobrante in Riverside, Calif. is also helping maintain Western's commitment to supporting deployment of renewable energy technologies.
"Hosting solar power systems is an easy, affordable choice for Western," said Western's General Manager John Rossi. "With an estimated $110,000 per year in savings on electricity from the new system, this investment will help hold down our rates for the services we provide to our customers."
Western contracted with SunPower to install the SunPower T0 Tracker® system at its Operations facility. The solar system follows the sun's movement during the day, increasing sunlight capture over conventional fixed-tilt systems.
This system marks the second time SunPower has provided energy services to Western. In 2009, SunPower partnered with Western to deliver a 1-megawatt solar power system at the Western Riverside County Wastewater Treatment Plant, a Western administrated and operated joint powers authority facility.
"We are very pleased to partner with Western Municipal Water District for a second time to help address its energy needs with a reliable, cost-effective, long-term solar solution," said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, regions. "Water agencies are uniquely suited for solar power systems, as they often have significant energy demand and underutilized, sun-exposed land. SunPower has worked with almost 30 water agencies across California to help them meet their financial goals while supporting renewable energy development."
Western financed the system through a power purchase agreement with SunPower. Under terms of the agreement, Wells Fargo owns the system that SunPower designed, built, and will operate and maintain. Western is buying the electricity at rates that are competitive with retail electricity, minimizing the effect of rising electricity costs with no capital investment. Western will not retain the renewable energy credits associated with the system.
According to information provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Western's new system is expected to avoid 944 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year – which is equivalent to removing 3,560 cars from California's roads over the first 20 years of the system's operation.
A celebration to dedicate the new system has been planned for June 12, 9 a.m., at the project site, 16451 El Sobrante Road, Riverside.