SolarWorld constructs 1.1-MW solar array for North Bay water treatment plant

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SolarWorld has completed the construction of a 1.1-megawatt solar system at North Bay Regional Water Treatment Plant, a facility co-owned by the cities of Fairfield and Vacaville, Calif on the Sacramento River delta.

Comprised of more than 4,000 of SolarWorld’s American-made solar panels, the system is expected to generate about 2 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy a year, which will result in immediate savings to Fairfield and Vacaville by limiting utility demand charges that accrue during peak usage times.

The solar array uses single-axis-tracker technology to rotate the solar panels to follow the sun’s path, capturing more solar energy and requiring a smaller footprint, compared with a fixed-tilt system.

The project resulted from a partnership among Fairfield, Vacaville, SolarWorld and sPower.

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Under the terms of the partnership, SolarWorld’s engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) division, based in Camarillo, Calif., managed all phases of the installation, including design, engineering, procurement, permitting and construction.

SPower owns the solar equipment and provides the project’s financing through a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Fairfield.

Under the sPower PPA, Fairfield and Vacaville will purchase energy at a lower rate than they pay to buy power from Pacific Gas & Electric Co., their local utility. Over the 20-year life of the PPA, the cities are expected to save an estimated $2 million.

“We commend Fairfield and Vacaville on making American-made solar energy part of their economic and environmental future,” said Kevin Kilkelly, president of SolarWorld Americas, the company’s commercial unit.

“The cities, SolarWorld and all of the project partners have worked diligently to ensure that this technically complex project provides optimum power performance, while maintaining the highest levels of environmental protection,” Kilkelly added.

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