FEBRUARY 2010

Wastewater authority dedicates treatment plant solar system

Western Riverside County Regional Wastewater Authority, Wells Fargo and SunPower Corp. dedicated a one megawatt solar power system at the West Riverside Wastewater Treatment Plant in Corona. SunPower designed and built the high-efficiency system, and financed the system with Wells Fargo through the $100 million sale leaseback program.

“Solar power systems help public agencies reduce costs and benefit the community by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere,” explained the Authority’s chairperson, Brenda Dennstedt, who is on the board of directors at Western Municipal Water District, an Authority partner. “This system will generate the equivalent of about 25 percent of the power needed to run the wastewater treatment plant, which is also about the same amount of power that would supply roughly 200 homes each year.”

Under the financing program used for the project, SunPower enters into power purchase agreements with qualified customers, and Wells Fargo finances and owns the system that SunPower designs, builds, operates, and maintains. The Authority is buying the electricity at prices that are competitive with retail rates, and benefiting from a long-term hedge against rising power prices. The Authority is not using the environmental claims associated with the system.

On the nine acre site, SunPower’s solar panels were installed with the SunPower T20 Tracker® system. The Tracker follows the sun’s movement during the day, increasing sunlight capture by up to 30 percent over conventional fixed-tilt systems, while significantly reducing land use requirements.