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The city of Wasco, Calif., is building a solar project on the site of a former burn dump; the renewable energy produced will help offset about 60{0b7da518931e2dc7f5435818fa9adcc81ac764ac1dff918ce2cdfc05099e9974} of the city’s current energy usage and costs from its municipal buildings, as well as from the treatment and distribution of water and wastewater. The city expects to save $8.6 million in energy costs over the next 15 years.

The former burn dump site, which was capped and remediated in the 1970s, has limited use but is an ideal location for a sizable solar installation, the city says.

The money for the project comes from future energy savings, in the form of an energy savings performance contract (ESPC) with Siemens. It will be the city’s first-ever renewable energy project. The 15-year ESPC with Siemens will see a 1.8 MW-solar power system built on a six acre site adjacent to the city’s wastewater treatment facility. The city expects to save more than $410,000 in energy costs by reducing energy usage by 2.8 million kWh the first year. Over the life of the contract, total energy savings is expected to be more than $8.6 million.

Wasco uses about 4.7 million kWh, and spends about $713,000, annually on water/wastewater treatment and distribution – accounting for about 30{0b7da518931e2dc7f5435818fa9adcc81ac764ac1dff918ce2cdfc05099e9974} to 40{0b7da518931e2dc7f5435818fa9adcc81ac764ac1dff918ce2cdfc05099e9974} of total energy consumed by the municipality.

The project will not only reduce energy and operating  costs, but will also help the city make better use of existing infrastructure, according to Siemens.

Wasco will also take advantage of a Pactific Gas & Electric program called Renewable Energy Self-generation Bill Credit Transfer (RES-BCT), which allows cities to build up to 5 MW of renewable generation on one site, and provides a credit for excess solar energy that is produced.

“We’re tapping into a program that will offset our energy costs for water pumping and treatment, and we’re able to make creative use of a site that would otherwise be left vacant. We’re looking forward to the years ahead,” says Wasco Mayor Gilberto Reyna.

An ESPC is a contracting tool that uses private-sector financing to implement comprehensive energy savings projects without relying on federal appropriations, and allows for energy improvements with little or no capital outlay on the part of the client. For example, The AUSP Thomson prison in Illinois will benefit from more than $33 million in energy and water savings thanks to an energy savings performance contract (ESPC) signed last year with Ameresco; the project is expected to reduce energy consumption by 53{0b7da518931e2dc7f5435818fa9adcc81ac764ac1dff918ce2cdfc05099e9974} across 13 main buildings, leading to significant reductions in utility and operational costs.

Similarly, the Putnam Valley Central School District in New York signed an energy performance contract with Con Edison Solutions last year, for a project that will improve the energy efficiency of the district’s buildings and infrastructure, improve occupancy comfort, and slow the pace of escalating energy costs– with guaranteed savings of $380,000 annually.

 

Getting It Done: Vendors Mentioned Above

Siemens

Ameresco

Con Edison Solutions

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