Solar on the Horizon for Water Treatment Plants

March 15, 2004 [] Solar power could be used at a Nevada Irrigation District water treatment plant in California, under a proposal now being considered by the NID Board of Directors. At their regular meeting directors authorized staff to apply for a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. rebate program that could pay up to 50 percent of installation costs. If the rebate becomes available and the district moves forward with the pilot project, solar generation facilities could be installed at NID’s North Auburn Water Treatment Plant. Solar power could be added at other treatment plants in future years. Solar electricity specialist Daniel Flanigan of Black Oak Electric in Nevada City said the system would reduce NID’s demand for electricity and could at times allow the district to sell power back to PG&E. Flanigan estimated the plant could be equipped with solar generation for a total cost of about $450,000, or a net cost to NID of about $225,000 with the 50 percent rebate. It was estimated the district could earn an average annual return of 9 percent on its investment. Directors agreed to apply for the rebate, which could become available this year or next, and then decide on whether to pursue the pilot project.
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