Water Utilities Partner With Solar Companies for Power Savings

Municipal and regional water agencies are known for their vast power needs to keep their operations running around the clock. The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) is taking steps to reduce their power consumption, however, and has paired with PowerLight and WorldWater & Power on a five-year agreement.

The agreement establishes a partnership program that could help California water agencies control and even reduce their energy costs, while helping the state ensure greater grid system reliability. PowerLight and WorldWater & Power have agreed to offer water agencies proposals for photovoltaic solar electric or onsite solar generation systems capable of running large water pumps or powering water treatment plants. “Five to seven percent of the state’s electricity consumption is by water agencies for water treatment, pumping, and moving water to get it to consumers,” said Steve Hall, ACWA’s Executive Director. ACWA is a statewide non-profit organization whose 447 public agency members are collectively responsible for 90 percent of the water delivered in California for residential, agricultural, and industrial use. Agencies that choose to purchase systems through the agreement would potentially reduce purchases of electricity from the utility and reduce operating costs. This could also leave more capacity in the utility grid system to help meet the energy needs of other customers. Proprietary technology offered by WorldWater includes equipment that enables a solar system to interact seamlessly with the grid and to sense grid power interruptions with an ensuing immediate switch to solar drive to continue motor/pump operations. PowerLight’s offers its PowerTracker system, which is a grid connected, single-axis design that enables the photovoltaic modules to automatically follow the path of the sun throughout the day. Systems provided by the companies would power treatment plants, or the large motors used for pumping water.
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