City of Coachella unveils 420kW CPV project at water reclamation facility

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The Californian City of Coachella is now home to a 420kW concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) system, which will provide solar energy to the Coachella Water Reclamation Plant. Developed by Johnson Controls and Solar Power Partners (SPP) using 55 SolFocus SF-1100S tracking CPV systems, the project is now connected to the regional electrical grid, serviced by the Imperial Irrigation District (IID).

Coachella leased the brownfield land the development is constructed on to Solar Power Partners, who financed and now owns the project. SPP will operate the system, selling electricity to the Water Reclamation Plant under a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA). The project was originally coordinated by Johnson Controls, which designed and constructed the facility under a contract with SPP.

“In Coachella, we have a firm, ongoing commitment to enhancing the City’s infrastructure to accommodate growth and improve the quality of services for our residents and businesses,” said Mayor Eduardo Garcia. “By installing the new solar energy system utilizing the latest technology available at our water reclamation facility, the City and SPP will power this critical city resource in a manner that will greatly reduce our operating expenses and help our environment at the same time. I’m proud of our team here at the City and our project partners for all the effort and support they have provided to enable us to celebrate this transition to clean, renewable power at the plant.”

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, energy costs add up to ~30% of the total operation and maintenance costs of wastewater treatment plants, which account for approximately 3% of the electric load in the United States. The Coachella CPV project is expected to significantly reduce the water plant’s operating costs, as well as cutting its carbon footprint.

“The Coachella Water Reclamation Plant is a prime example of how California can reduce its dependence on traditional energy sources and incorporate renewable energy for its power needs,” said Claudio Andreetta, regional VP and GM, energy solutions at Johnson Controls. “Johnson Controls strives to deliver solutions that reduce carbon dioxide emissions as well as develop and build projects that make energy efficiency and sustainability a top priority.”

“This project exemplifies how smart public policies are encouraging the deployment of solar projects. Under Senate Bill 1 the ‘Go Solar California’ initiative laid the foundation for programs like IID’s Public Benefits Charge, to fund solar incentive programs,” said SolFocus CEO Mark Crowley.

“Solar Power Partners is proud to be working with the City of Coachella to bring solar-generated energy to their Water Reclamation Plant. As a recipient of the California Association of Sanitation Agencies’ 2009 Capital Improvement Award for another water treatment plant’s solar project, we are thrilled to bring this highly innovative and leading-edge solution to Coachella’s Water Reclamation Plant and to be working with the City to help them with their energy and environmental goals,” said Bob Powell, CEO of Solar Power Partners.

This project follows the recent completion of the 1MW Nichols Farms installation, located on a pistachio farm in the Central Valley of California. In total, SolFocus has completed several megawatts of CPV installations worldwide, as well as further projects, which are due to come online at the end of this month.

The Coachella Water Reclamation Plant project will be unveiled at 11 a.m. local time today.

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