Solar project to provide carbon free water supply for district

The Hidden Valley Lake Community Services District broke ground recently on a solar power project that will provide one hundred percent of the energy for its water reclamation plant. The project comprises 1176 photovoltaic panels located on one acre at the water reclamation plant and will provide a sustainable, affordable, long-term power supply for this small community that already recycles one hundred percent of its highly treated wastewater for golf course irrigation.

The project received significant support from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development. The agency is providing nearly $1 million in grants and $640,000 in low interest loan funding. USDA’s support of the District’s project reflects the agency’s ongoing commitment to supporting the development of sustainable utility service for rural communities. The District anticipates that it will be able to fund its loan payments from the savings it will experience in power purchase costs.

“This project realizes a long-term goal of our District,” says District General Manager Mel Aust. “With USDA’s support we’ll achieve energy independence and be able to protect our rate payers from long-term volatility in the power market. The solar project will also reduce our carbon emissions by approximately 120 tons per year. We already reuse all of our treated wastewater and this project enhances the sustainability of our operation. Our staff, our District Engineer and USDA worked hard to put this project together. Special thanks go to the Hidden Valley Lake CSD Board of Directors whose strong leadership has been instrumental and demonstrates that small communities can do bold and innovative things.”

Photovoltaic paneling was an integral component of a recent energy project in Massachusetts where energy management consultant SourceOne helped the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) to improve the efficiency and overall performance of the Deer Island Wastewater Treatment Plant.

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