Solar PV Systems for Commercial Water Operations

Sure, solar-electric systems can contribute extra power to smooth out peak demand on the electric grid, and lower electricity costs for a business, but it’s less often that solar is used as the primary power source for crucial energy aspects of an industrial operation.

A recent example is in the town of Idyllwild, California, where the town’s water utility contracted the WorldWater & Power Corporation to install a 57-horsepower solar-powered pumping system. WorldWater will handle all aspects of installation of the US$309,000 system. Half of that cost will be reimbursed to the Idyllwild Water District by Southern California Edison under the California rebate plan, which encourages use of solar and other renewable energy sources in the state. The contract is subject to an environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act. There are 450 public water districts and utilities in California to which WorldWater is proposing use of its proprietary solar powered AquaMax to replace use of diesel pumps and to reduce use of grid electric pumps, in order to address the state’s air quality problems and high electricity costs. “In addition to providing electrical power to overcome power brown-outs, WorldWater’s solar technology will enable Idyllwild to be the first water district to use solar power to operate its major wells and booster pumps, while providing additional cost savings and environmental benefits to our mountain community,” said Terry Lyons, General Manager of the Idyllwild Water District. The WorldWater solar system will power one of Idyllwild’s basic water delivery systems. It is anticipated to save the Water District approximately 70 percent of electrical costs on the meter system where it will be installed. The WorldWater system and products will provide all of the environmental advantages associated with clean solar power, and will serve as a backup source of electricity in the event of black- or brown-outs from the regional electrical supply grid. “This is a breakthrough for clean energy use by the water utility companies — it provides them the added value of backup power as well as saving significant amounts of money on their electric costs. Our solar power system will provide an important solution to the problems of grid power service and price fluctuations that all utilities in California face,” Lyons said. Work on the Idyllwild project will begin immediately following successful conclusion of the environmental study. Idyllwild is located in the San Jacinto Mountains between Los Angeles and Palm Springs, California.

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