The Manteca City Council earlier this month considered proposals for a solar project for its wastewater treatment plant that could potentially save the city millions of dollars over the next decade. The 5.5-acre solar array would provide one megawatt of electricity to power a third of the plant, making it the second largest solar installation in south San Joaquin County.
The current PG&E utility bill for the wastewater plant is a staggering $1.2 million per year, about a third of the cost to build the solar project at $3.9 million. The Manteca Public Works Department estimates the solar system will have a life expectancy of 25 years and an eight-year payback. For the remaining 17 years, the City of Manteca will receive free electricity for a third of the plant. It is proposed that the Sewer Maintenance and Operation fund be tapped for the solar array without a rate increase.
Like Manteca, many California communities are taking control of their resources, switching to renewable energy, and saving money. Some local governments have taken full control of their electricity supply through Community Choice Energy (CCE). With CCE, cities such as Manteca could continue building their own renewable assets while creating jobs and building revenue reserves.
A recent study that used San Jose as a case study found that even under the most conservative estimate, a CCE that procured local electricity would boost local jobs by over 1,000 per year and local economic activity by more than $12 million.
As the shift to renewable energy accelerates, Community Choice Energy will become more attractive to cities such as Manteca.
For more information on the San Jose CCE report, please visit: http://climateprotection.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/CCA-Benefits-Report-web.pdf
For more information on CCE programs, please visit: http://cleanpowerexchange.org/resources/cca-101/
For information on Manteca’s Solar Farm, please visit: http://www.mantecabulletin.com/section/38/article/139260/