“Wastewater treatment plants require huge amounts of power but this solar project makes our plant more efficient and saves money for the ratepayers.”
—Bernie Schroeder, Director of public works
AUBURN, Calif. — April 12, 2011 — The City of Auburn kicked off a new era in powering public works project today. Local dignitaries met at the Auburn Wastewater Treatment Plan to celebrate the new 690 kilowatt solar project that powers the upgraded Wastewater Treatment Plant, including the new ultraviolet disinfection system. Pacific Power Renewables of Auburn installed the solar array and also operates and maintains the system.
Auburn’s upgraded Wastewater Treatment Plant came on line earlier this year and includes the latest ultraviolet light (UV) disinfection technology to meet new permit requirements. UV disinfection drastically reduces the amount of chemicals needed to process wastewater but also requires more power. “We had the perfect location on site to install a large solar array. It made sense to make this the first significant solar project for the city,” added Schroeder.
“As a long time resident of Auburn, I am happy to have been a part of helping the city achieve a green initiative and at the same time reduce their electricity expense,” said David Dwelle, president of Pacific Power Renewables. “An additional win came from our ability to design and build the solar system in a retention basin. The final win was the relationship with Nella Oil Co. who provided the tax equity financing.” “The City is committed to projects that protect our environment and use the latest technology.
Updating the plant and meeting the new permit regulations required a substantial amount of money for design, construction, operations and additional power needs. Using solar panels to generate electricity drops the annual operating costs, which ultimately benefits the rate payers and the environment,” added Schroeder.
The solar array at the Wastewater Treatment Plan has 4,056 modules and is capable of generating over 1.2 million kilowatt‐hours per year, more than enough to power the UV system. The project is a leasing agreement with Pacific Power Renewables, which owns and operates the solar array under agreement with the City of Auburn.
“This is a model project, which demonstrates how clean, renewable solar power can be used to run a large facility like our wastewater treatment plant,” said Bernie Schroeder, director of public works. “We are pleased to be helping the city and its residents save money while also helping the environment.”