District dedicates 1.1-megawatt SunPower solar power system

March 30, 2009
Rancho California Water District (RCWD) and SunPower Corp., a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels, and solar systems, announced the completion of a 1.1-megawatt solar-electric power system at the district's water treatment facility in Murrieta. The system produces a portion of the facilities' electricity requirements, and is expected to save the district up to $6.8 million in electricity costs over the next 20 years...

• Solar system expected to save district up to $6.8 million

MURRIETA, CA, Mar. 24, 2009 -- Rancho California Water District (RCWD) and SunPower Corp., a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels, and solar systems, today announced the completion of a 1.1-megawatt solar-electric power system at the district's water treatment facility in Murrieta. The system produces a portion of the facilities' electricity requirements, and is expected to save the district up to $6.8 million in electricity costs over the next 20 years.

In addition to designing and building the solar power system, SunPower also financed the system under a SunPower Access power purchase agreement (PPA). RCWD will buy electricity from SunPower at rates competitively priced against utility rates, providing the district with a long-term hedge against rising peak power prices. RCWD owns the renewable energy credits associated with the system.

"The SunPower Access PPA made it financially possible for the district to build this system, and reap the benefits of competitively-priced solar power from day one," said Andy Webster, director of engineering for RCWD. "SunPower offered high-efficiency technology that maximizes the amount of solar power generated, and a turnkey solution that allowed the system to be operational in eight months. It's good for our environment as well as for our residents and businesses."

For the district, SunPower installed a system that utilizes SunPower solar panels, the most efficient solar panels on the market today, with the SunPower Tracker® system. The Tracker follows the sun's movement during the day, increasing sunlight capture by up to 30 percent over conventional fixed-tilt systems, while significantly reducing land use requirements. The system will reduce more than 2.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually, which is equivalent to removing close to 202 cars from the road.

"Solar makes good financial sense today for California's water agencies. There is financing available through power purchase agreements such as SunPower Access, and there are also financial incentives for solar projects available from state and federal governments," said Tom Werner, chief executive officer of SunPower. "We applaud the district for hosting this showcase installation that demonstrates both good environmental and fiscal stewardship."

Formed in 1965, Rancho California Water District supplies an area consisting of approximately 150 square miles. The District serves the area known as Temecula/Rancho California, which includes the City of Temecula, parts of Murrieta, and other contiguous lands. The District is separated into two divisions: the Santa Rosa Division generally west of I-15 and Rancho Division generally east of I-15. The District currently provides sewer service to the Cal Oaks and Bear Creek areas.

SunPower Corp. designs, manufactures and delivers high-performance solar electric systems worldwide for residential, commercial and utility-scale power plant customers. SunPower high-efficiency solar cells and solar panels generate up to 50 percent more power than conventional solar technologies and have a uniquely attractive, all-black appearance.

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