U.S. Department of Energy

    Water Treatment Plant Meets Daytime Needs with Solar Power

    July 28, 2004

    The South Feather Water and Power Agency in Oroville, California, about 70 miles north of Sacramento, is now able to meet all of its power needs for plant operations during the day using solar power. Sun Power & Geothermal Energy commissioned a new 566-kilowatt solar power system at the water treatment plant on July 20th. Thanks to surplus power generation on sunny days, which will allow the agency to feed power back into the local power grid, the agency expects to have a zero net electricity bill. That's a significant drop from last year, when the agency's electric bill exceeded $160,000. See the Sun Power & Geothermal Energy press release.

    While large solar systems are becoming more common, smaller systems mounted on homes and schools remain popular. On July 20th, Prevalent Power secured contracts to install a total of 180 kilowatts of solar power on six schools in California. The company obtained most of the funding for the projects from the California Energy Commission's Solar Schools rebate incentive program. Meanwhile, on the East Coast, PECO Energy announced a grant of $232,100 to the Philadelphia Housing Authority to install 1.11-kilowatt solar power systems on 22 homes in affordable housing developments. And Western Massachusetts Electric Company has finished building its first "zero energy home," which includes a 2.6-kilowatt solar power system. The utility worked with Steven Winter Associates, Inc. to design the home, built as part of DOE's Building America Zero Energy Home program. See the press releases from Prevalent Power (PDF 75 KB), PECO Energy, and Steven Winter Associates (PDF 166 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.