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Local water district goes solar

Energy-efficient solar panels will save district $12 million over 25 years
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The San Juan Water District announced Dec. 1 that it’s going solar with the installation of energy-efficient solar panels. The panels will generate 794 kilowatts, which is nearly 90 percent of the electricity consumed by the district’s water-treatment plant, booster pump station and administration buildings. Established in 1954, the community-services district provides drinking water to more than 265,000 people in portions of Placer and Sacramento counties, including retail customers in Granite Bay, east Roseville, Orangevale and Folsom. The organization also wholesales water to other districts in the area. This green technology could save the district up to $12 million over the estimated 25-year lifespan of the solar system. “Solar power will allow us to achieve the maximum amount of clean, renewable energy generated from a very small plot of district-owned land,” said Rick Hydrick, operations manager of the San Juan Water District, in a press release. “This project will help the district better serve the community by minimizing the long-term impacts on ratepayers from rising energy costs and improving overall reliability.” Of the total $5.5 million construction costs, about $2 million will be offset by California Solar Initiative grant funding. The remaining cost will pay for itself in energy savings within nine years, according to the release. The system will use SunPower Corporation solar panels with the SunPower T0 Tracker, which increases energy capture by up to 25 percent over conventional fixed-tilt systems, while significantly reducing land-use requirements. The installation should be complete by June 2011. ~ Sena Christian