The Padre Dam Municipal Water District, a provider of water, waste water, recycled water and recreation services to the eastern suburbs of San Diego, services over 24,000 customers across 85 square miles. The District’s mission is to provide quality water, recycled water, park and recreational facilities, and wastewater management services for their customers in the most cost-effective manner possible, earning customer and community respect. With a focus on “quality” installing an 862kW photovoltaic solar energy system was a natural next step for the water district since it will simultaneously reduce carbon emissions and spread an environmentally conscious message to the community it serves.
Borrego Solar worked with partners who specialize in building carports to construct several RV height carport awnings that would hold the solar modules and provide shade to the RV park residents underneath. Borrego Solar’s experienced operations team set a record and was able to complete the entire installation from geological and grading stages to the final solar interconnection in just 90 days.
During the first complete year of operation, the system is estimated to produce more than 1.2 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean solar energy per year and more than 36 million kWhs over 30 years, equivalent to the effect of removing 200 passenger cars from the road or planting 445 acres of trees. Over 30 years of production, the zero-emission system will offset more than an estimated 49 million lbs of carbon dioxide that would have been emitted during the production of electricity from fossil fuels.
Padre Dam Municipal Water District financed their installation with a traditional power purchase agreement (PPA) between Borrego Solar and a PPA provider. The way the deal is structured, Padre Dam will pay the PPA provider for the portion of their energy bill that is replaced by the solar installation. In return, the PPA provider will monetize on the state and federal solar incentives and recoup the rest of their costs through the sale of the energy to Padre Dam. With no upfront cost to go solar, Padre Dam was able to increase some of the monthly rent they charge their RV park residents for the shaded spaces under the RV carports that were built to hold the solar panels. This was an innovative and necessary way for the water district to see greater savings from the solar power installation.