by Paul Helliker
MMWD is working to reduce our environmental impact by installing three photovoltaic energy projects at District-owned facilities: the administration building in Corte Madera, the corporation yard, also in Corte Madera, and the San Geronimo Treatment Plant in Woodacre.
This past weekend, electricity was shut off at the administration building so that the new rooftop solar array could be interconnected to the main service panel. Testing and commissioning will happen this coming week. The array is expected to be fully operational in early August and will supply 35 percent of the building’s annual energy use.
Altogether, the three projects will provide approximately 300 kW (kilowatts) of solar power and generate approximately 500,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) of clean, renewable energy each year, offsetting 380,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year—equivalent to avoiding 380,000 automobile miles.
All systems will feature Suntech modules with industry-leading power output tolerances, high conversion efficiencies, and a 25-year power output warranty. According to Suntech, water districts are particularly well suited for solar power due to their high electricity usage and unique load patterns. By replacing expensive midday electricity with clean solar power, we’ll immediately reduce our electric bills and our reliance on carbon-based peak power.
The Corte Madera projects are being financed by $1.956 million in zero-interest Clean Renewal Energy Bonds (CREBs). The projects also will qualify for up to $577,000 in rebates from PG&E for California Solar Initiative performance-based rebates.
The investment in solar power is part of our larger commitment to manage our natural resources sustainably.