Rancho California Water District to Add Solar

Joanna Schroeder

The Rancho California Water District (RCWD) is going solar. They have hired SunPower to design and construct two solar power systems that will total 1.7 megawatts (mW) at two of their facilities. It is anticipated that the solar systems will save RCWD nearly $8.5 million in energy costs over the next 25 years. Back in 2009, SunPower completed a 1.1 mW solar project for RCWD’s Santa Rosa Water Reclamation Facility in Murrieta, California.

“The system that SunPower completed for us in 2009 reliably delivers significant monthly savings on our electricity costs, which we pass on to our customers,” said Andrew Webster, RCWD’s chief engineer. “As a result, we chose to work with SunPower again when we expanded our commitment to solar power, and further maximize our savings and the environmental benefits for our community.”

The first system located at the Senga Doherty Pump Station in Murrieta, will be a 1.1 mW system comprised of SunPower’s T0 Tracker system. The trackers allow for solar panels to move with the sun increasing sunlight capture by up to 25 percent while reducing land requirements. The second system will be installed at RCWD’s headquarters in Temecula. This will be a 610 kilowatt solar parking canopy structure that will provide power to their building.

“With SunPower systems operating at more than 20 water agencies, representing approximately 19 megawatts in total, our experience and ability to deliver guaranteed performance sets us apart,” said Jim Pape, president of SunPower’s residential and commercial business group. “We applaud RCWD’s leadership in taking advantage of the QECB program. Clean, reliable solar power makes good sense today for public agencies and our environment.”

Funding for the project will be through qualified energy conservation bonds that are issued by the state of California. RCWD will own the renewable energy credits associated with the systems. Construction is set for this summer and should be completed by the end of 2011.

Electricity, Energy, Solar