IID taps tribe's solar power

The tribe could "substantially reduce the casino's overall energy consumption/production ratio and ultimately their electric bill

COACHELLA, Calif. – Imperial Irrigation District has successfully completed the infrastructure needed to integrate renewable energy from two of Augustine Casino's solar photovoltaic generators into the local electric grid.


In June, the casino finished construction of a new solar photovoltaic facility that generates two megawatts of renewable energy. The project, which features fixed solar panels on five acres on tribal land adjacent to the casino, operates parallel to the tribe's existing one-megawatt solar facility which was constructed in 2008.

With the development of the 2 MW solar facility and intertie to the IID distribution system, the tribe could "substantially reduce the casino's overall energy consumption/production ratio and ultimately their electric bill," said IID's Angela Evans, assistant energy manager in charge of customer operations for the Coachella Valley.

The availability of this renewable energy source during peak hours could help the public power utility reduce the amount of energy it may need to purchase on the open market to meet high demand.

Net excess energy from the photovoltaic sites will be delivered to IID's Coachella Substation, which includes an existing distribution feeder that serves the casino.

The success of the first project—the tribe's 1 MW solar photovoltaic facility completed in 2008—led the way for the new facility. While the 2008 project qualified for $2.6 million in IID rebates, the tribe provided its own funding for the 2 MW project.

Both IID and the tribe are pleased with the success of the projects.

"IID and the tribe put in many long days to keep the project on schedule for the 2012 energization," Evans said.

Harold Rapp, engineer/manager at Augustine Casino, noted the tribe's appreciation.

"The men and women at IID really busted their tails to get this project done," Rapp said. "We couldn't have a better partner for the next 25 years."

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