Southern California water district makes fourth solar investment at Granada Hills Water Treatment Plant

Aug. 17, 2016
Solar power project at district’s Jensen treatment plant is expected to offset about 20 percent of power used by plant annually.
" Joseph Jensen Water Treatment Plant. Courtesy MWD.

LOS ANGELES, AUGUST 17, 2016 -- One week after the Metropolitan Water District celebrated the activation of its largest solar power project, the agency’s board of directors has authorized another clean energy investment.

Metropolitan’s board voted to invest $6.76 million to develop a 1-megawatt solar power generating facility on six acres at the district’s Joseph Jensen Water Treatment Plant in Granada Hills. The solar installation is expected to produce 2.3 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean, renewable energy a year, enough to power about 325 homes.

“This project is another clear example of a much larger strategy that merges the needs of the environment and those of the economy,” said Metropolitan board Chairman Randy Record.

"We need water for our homes and industries. Yet we need to supply it in a sustainable way," Record continued. "Converting our treatment plants to run more on solar power marks another milestone in our movement toward environmental sustainability."

The board action follows Metropolitan’s dedication last Tuesday (Aug. 9) of a 3-megawatt solar installation at the district’s F.E. Weymouth Water Treatment Plant in La Verne. Covering 15.5 acres, that project will generate about 6.5 million kWh of clean, renewable energy a year.

Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said the Jensen project will add to the more than $23 million the district has already invested in solar power during the past decade.

"As the effects from climate change become more evident, we need to continue exploring clean-energy solutions like this solar project in order to help assure water reliability throughout the Southland," Kightlinger said.

"For decades, we’ve seized opportunities to produce power from water, both at dams and at our 16 hydroelectric plants scattered throughout our distribution system. We continue to scan the horizon for new ways that help support our mission of delivering water in an environmentally sustainable way," Kightlinger said.

Energy generated by the Jensen facility will help offset retail electricity costs and reduce operational costs, while providing a hedge against future volatility in the price of electricity. Jensen is Metropolitan’s largest treatment plant and the largest west of the Mississippi River, with the ability to treat up to 750 million gallons of water per day. The plant serves Ventura County, the San Fernando Valley, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica and the Palos Verde Peninsula.

This project marks the district’s fourth major investment in solar power. Along with the Weymouth project, Metropolitan has a 1-megawatt solar facility at the district’s Robert A. Skinner Water Treatment Plant in southwest Riverside County and a ½-megawatt project at the Diamond Valley Lake Visitor Center.

As part of the action, Metropolitan’s board awarded a $4.88 million contract to Riverside-based Sol Construction Co. to construct the solar facility. Construction is expected to begin next month, with plans to start-up the solar plant in late 2017.

Under the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Solar Incentive Program, the Jensen project will be eligible for about $1.4 million in rebates if it commences operation by the end of 2017.

About The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a state-established cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving nearly 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource-management programs.