"This is a win-win for our water ratepayers and for the environment," said John Greci, president of the Zone 7 Board of Directors. "Zone 7 is trying to set an example, to set a green footprint and be responsible to our ratepayers at the same time."
The solar panels will produce about a third of the energy Zone 7 uses in water treatment and other operations at the Del Valle plant. The savings in energy costs is expected to be greater than $800,000 for the 20-year term of the agreement, although they could be higher if power costs go up.
Greci also said that Zone 7 continues to explore more ways to "optimize its energy use" in water treatment, groundwater pumping and overall operations.
The project was financed with a Power Purchase Agreement with Borrego, which designed, built, owns and maintains the solar power installation on Zone 7 property. In return for use of the land, Borrego agreed to sell the solar energy to Zone 7 at pre-determined rates for 20 years. This is currently 28 percent less per kilowatt-hour than the PG&E grid rate.
The agreement did not require any upfront costs for Zone 7, and it allowed Borrego to take advantage of federal tax credits.
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