Yucaipa Valley Water District invests in solar microgrid for filtration, recycling facilities

The Yucaipa Valley Water District (YVWD) Board of Directors approved a contract with ENGIE North America for a custom solar, storage and microgrid project. YVWD will prioritize the use of clean energy to enhance the hydropower nexus at two of its most critical sites, the Yucaipa Valley Regional Water Filtration Facility and the Wochholz Regional Water Recycling Facility.

The combined project includes 7.4 MW of solar, a 3.3 MW/13 MWh energy storage system and 3.2 MW natural gas generators and microgrid controllers. YVWD’s program is expected to save $73 million over the life of the program, and the district will receive nearly $7 million in incentives under California’s Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). ENGIE North America will build, own and operate the systems, as well as sell energy and energy services through a 28-year PPA.

“With so many challenging events facing our community, including fire and drought, our district is at the forefront of proactive problem solving,” said Yucaipa Valley Water District General Manager Joseph Zoba. “It is time for a more integrated approach to addressing the challenges and opportunities of the water-energy nexus. Maintaining the reliability and resilience of our energy and water systems is key to long-term sustainability and our overall success. The YVWD relies on uninterrupted power 24/7 to conduct mission-critical operations. This project not only ensures that critical facilities remain operational in the event of a power outage, but it also reduces our carbon footprint.”

The YVWD operates more than 220 miles of drinking water pipelines and provides a combination of water, sewer and recycled water connections to more than 22,000 taxpayers in the Inland Empire. The program will significantly improve the neighborhood’s capacity to serve residents and keep rates stable while protecting against rising energy costs. The program is designed to meet the district’s long-term resilience goals and to ensure safe, reliable power to key district facilities during public safety shutdown (PSPS) events.

In Yucaipa Valley, a historically fire-prone region of Southern California, the community has seen an increase in risk, with fires being managed nearly every two years. Looking for a proactive way to prepare for the fire season and reduce the impact of related power cuts on public safety, the board of directors of YVWD selected ENGIE as their energy partner to create a useful framework for technology solutions that meet would meet the wider needs of the community.

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