El Dorado Irrigation to Add to Its Solar Portfolio

Published in Mountain Democrat

Deciding to take a bite out of its electric bills, the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors has approved a long-term power purchase agreement with Borrego Solar Systems for solar facilities at two of its wastewater treatment plants.

Passed on a unanimous vote during Monday’s meeting, the board approved a reimbursement agreement with Borrego along with three 25-year solar power purchase agreements and three 25-year license agreements with El Dorado Solar, Deer Creek Solar 1 and Deer Creek Solar 2 for the solar assessment and design program.

The new solar facilities will be built at the El Dorado Hills and Deer Creek wastewater treatment plants. To maximize power savings, three existing PG&E utility meters will be used. One is at the El Dorado Hills site and two are at the Deer Creek site.

EID already has one solar field at the El Dorado Hills site that is used to offset power consumed by its UV disinfection facility. The existing and the new solar fields in El Dorado Hills are expected to offset approximately 60 percent of the energy used at the site. The new solar field at Deer Creek is expected to offset approximately 70 percent of the energy used at that site.

EID will also have the option of purchasing the system at the conclusion of the sixth, 10th, 15th and 20th year of the contract term.

The water agency is eager to add to its solar portfolio. In 2018 it spent $5 million on electricity and consultants estimate going solar will save the district at least $9.5 million over the term of the 25-year contract.

At the same meeting, the board approved spending $113,385 with TerraVerde for construction support and consulting services during project design, construction, start-up and closeout of the solar project with Borrego Solar Systems. They will also pay PG&E up to $250,000 in interconnection fees at the Deer Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant and another $100,000 for professional services and construction management, which can be by staff as well as on-call vendors.