Head north past Redding on I-5 for an hour and half and you’ll come to the towns of Yreka and Montague in the northern part of California’s Central Valley, situated near majestic Mt. Shasta.
They’re small towns known for agriculture and ranching, and for the better part of seven months a year, the area is also known for sunny and warm weather. The result is that residents and commercial operations in the area require plenty of water. The Big Springs Irrigation District has the task of providing that water, and the pumping comes at a significant energy cost. But the ample sunshine also provided the BSID with an opportunity to significantly cut its electricity costs for its pumps. The district turned to Sustainable Technologies to help them.
SusTech worked with the BSID to design a system that would meet their energy needs and fit within their project budget. The final product was a 95.6 KW ground-mounted solar electric system comprised of 324 295-watt, American-made Solar World PV panels connect to three SMA Tri-Power 24,000-watt inverters. SusTech installed the system adjacent to the district’s Montague pump house.
The installation process covered nearly three months. The process included underground component installation, racking ballast installation, and installation of all the panels and DC and AC wiring, followed by a week of testing.
While the system cost just over $275,000, available federal and state rebates and incentives brought the first-year cost down nearly $92,000. The system is expected to offset 75-80% of BSID’s power consumption for the pumping station. With an estimated power savings of $23,000/year based on current (2017) electricity rates, BSID could expect to recoup its investment in less than eight years; sooner if utility electricity rates jumped at all.
Energy Generation (Since Nov. 2017): 50,348.30 kwH
SGD Reimbursement: $7,552.24
CO2 avoided: 77,699.29 lbs