Mayor Newsom Powers Up Newest Municipal Solar Installation,

New 20,000 square-foot solar array atop SFPUC Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant brings clean, renewable energy to Bayview Hunters Point community

Heralds San Francisco's National Clean Energy Leadership



New 20,000 square-foot solar array atop SFPUC Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant brings clean, renewable energy to Bayview Hunters Point community

SAN FRANCISCO, NOV. 15, 2005 - Mayor Gavin Newsom joined southeast community leaders and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) today to 'flip the switch' and commence operation of a new 255-kilowatt solar electric system at the Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant. The SFPUC's latest solar electric project utilizes a photovoltaic array to convert sunlight directly into energy at the City's largest wastewater treatment facility. Covering 20,000 square feet of rooftop, the solar project compliments San Francisco's largest municipal installation at the Moscone Center, providing the plant with more than 300,000-kilowatt hours per year - the equivalent energy to power 200 homes. The solar array was furnished by PowerLight of Northern California.

"By investing in solar deployments, San Francisco is continuing national leadership in development of renewable energy programs and meeting a growing portion of the City's municipal electricity needs with clean energy resources," said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. "Reliable solar generation benefits both San Francisco and the entire Bay Area region by reducing congestion on the electricity grid as well as improving air quality."

The Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant's solar array reduces the use of fossil fuel-generated electricity, sparing the environment from tons of harmful emissions. Throughout the next 30 years, the environmental benefits of the Plant's solar generated electricity will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 3,000 tons. These emission reductions are the equivalent to planting 843 acres of trees or not driving 7.5 million miles in the San Francisco Bay Area.

"Municipal solar electric deployments are reducing San Francisco's dependence on polluting fossil fuel generated electricity, said SFPUC General Manager Susan Leal. "Development of renewable energy resources in the Bayview Hunters Point community is especially important in a neighborhood that has long suffered from the impacts of polluting energy and industrial facilities."

The Southeast Plant treats more than 80 percent of the daily wastewater flow from San Francisco's sewer system. The Plant's new solar array will provide 11% of the facility's electrical requirements and is estimated to save $38,400 in annual energy costs. In addition, the in-City power generation will strengthen electric system reliability by reducing San Francisco's peak energy demand approximately 6%.

The Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant project will integrate solar power generation with energy efficiency measures to further reduce the Plant's electrical load. The energy efficiency portion of the project consists of replacing 48 aeration mixers over the next two years with new units. The mixer replacement effort is projected to save 1,514,250-kilowatt hours annually and will reduce the site power load by 240-kilowatts.

"We laud San Francisco's leadership in implementing comprehensive energy strategies that integrate clean reliable solar electric power and on-site energy conservation," noted Dan Shugar, President of the PowerLight Corporation, which designed and built the Southeast Plant's solar deployment. "San Francisco is demonstrating how local governments can improve air quality and reduce pressure on the electrical grid, while simultaneously saving taxpayers' dollars."

During today's ceremony, City officials also touted the SFPUC's successful partnership to prevent statewide rolling blackouts this past summer through the California Power Authority's Demand Reserves Partnership Program. The SFPUC participated in the program by identifying facilities with high-energy-use equipment that could be shutdown during peak summer power load periods. When called upon, SFPUC facility operators performed equipment shutdowns for periods of up to three hours, achieving a reduction in peak load of up to five megawatts in August and September, a 25% reduction in the SFPUC's peak power demand.

The Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant's solar array is the latest renewable energy project sponsored by the SFPUC. In addition, the SFPUC recently approved a new 283-kilowatt solar installation at Pier 96 and plans further deployments at additional municipal sites, including Moscone Center West, the Northpoint Facility, Pier 50, San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco Airport and public libraries, health clinics and schools.


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