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Two California Water Agencies Go Solar

SunPower Corp. today announced that it is building solar power systems for the Fallbrook Public Utilities District (FPUD) in San Diego County and the San Juan Water District (SJWD) in Placer County. Both systems are using high efficiency SunPower technology to maximize solar power generated on site, and are expected to be operational in the first half of 2011.

The purchase of the system for FPUD will be financed using low-interest Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs) available as a result of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). At the 8-acre site, SunPower is designing and building a 1.1-megawatt ground-mounted solar power system using SunPower solar panels, the most efficient solar panels on the market, with SunPowera T20 Trackers. The trackers rotate the panels to follow the sun, increasing energy capture by up to 30 percent over conventional fixed-tilt systems, while significantly reducing land use requirements.

“SunPower is very experienced in working with water agencies, and assisted us with obtaining the QECBs and making the project affordable,” said Keith Lewinger, general manager of FPUD. “The system will offset approximately 45 percent of our total electricity for all District facilities. In addition, the combination of state rebates and federal low-interest financing allows the District to purchase the facility, and at the same time realize a net cash savings each year compared to purchasing 100 percent of our power from the grid, resulting in savings we can pass on to our customers.”

The 794-kilowatt system that SunPower will build for SJWD is expected to provide 89 percent of the water treatment plant’s electricity demand. The system will use SunPower solar panels with the SunPowera T0 Tracker, which increases energy capture by up to 25 percent over conventional fixed-tilt systems, while significantly reducing land use requirements.

“SunPower’s high efficiency technology 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 SJWD. “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.”

“SunPower offers high performance solar technology and financing expertise that helps customers maximize savings on their electricity expenditures,” said Bill Kelly, SunPower managing director. “Based on our experience delivering systems and service to more than 20 water agencies in the Western U.S., FPUD and SJWD can count on the reliability and performance of their SunPower systems.”

Read Large-Scale Solar Power Systems: Construction and Economics from Amazon.

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