One of nation's largest WTPs to receive large-scale solar installation
The board of directors for the Metropolitan Water District of California has voted to invest $12.6 million to develop a 3-megawatt solar power generating facility on 15.5 acres at the District's F.E. Weymouth Water Treatment Plant -- one of the nation's largest water treatment facilities.
LOS ANGELES, CA, June 11, 2015 -- On Tuesday, June 9, the board of directors for the Metropolitan Water District of California voted to invest $12.6 million to develop a 3-megawatt solar power generating facility on 15.5 acres at the District's F.E. Weymouth Water Treatment Plant --one of the nation's largest water treatment facilities --located in the city of La Verne.
The La Verne installation is expected to produce 6.6 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean, renewable energy per year -- enough to power 1,000 homes. The produced energy will be used at the plant, helping to offset nearly 60,000 tons of greenhouse gases over the project's lifetime. Serving portions of eastern Los Angeles and Orange counties, the Weymouth plant can treat up to 520 million gallons of water per day.
Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger explained that energy generated by the solar facility will help offset retail electricity costs and reduce operational costs, while providing a hedge against future volatility in the price of electricity. He noted the project has an expected lifespan of up to 30 years and is anticipated to generate enough savings to pay for itself in 10 to 12 years.
The La Verne solar farm will feature 190 sun-tracking stations, supporting 10,470 photovoltaic modules. Each module weighs about 60 pounds and will generate about 325 watts. The stations employ a tracking system that allows the panels to follow the sun's path from east to west, producing more power than fixed panels.
This project marks the District's second investment in solar power. In May 2009, it commenced operation of a 10-acre field of solar panels at the Robert A. Skinner Water Treatment Plant in southwest Riverside County. Today, the 1-megawatt facility generates about 2.3 million kWh of electricity -- nearly 20 percent of the power used by the plant.
Metropolitan's board awarded a $10.5-million contract to the Rancho Cucamonga-based Kana Engineering Group, Inc., to construct the solar facility, which is expected to begin next month, with plans to start-up the solar plant by March 2016. Energy not used by the plant will be credited toward other existing accounts that the District maintains with Southern California Edison through SCE's Renewable Energy Self-Generation Bill Credit Transfer program. Additionally, Metropolitan will receive a $1-million rebate over the first five years as part of the California Solar Initiative.