WSSC will be adding solar photovoltaic power at two of its wastewater treatment plants to broaden its use of alternative energy sources, further reducing its carbon footprint and saving ratepayer money.
Solar power is being added to WSSC’s Seneca and Western Branch Wastewater Treatment Plants through a $13 million purchase power agreement with Standard Solar, Inc. of Rockville, MD and Washington Gas Energy Systems, Inc. (WGES) of McLean, VA. Standard Solar will design, build, operate and maintain solar power equipment at the plants. WGES will own and finance Standard Solar’s project. WSSC will purchase power from WGES at specific prices for a specific number of years.
The two plants used approximately 39 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) during FY 2012, and WSSC is projected to save about $3.5 million dollars over the life of the 20-year contract by paying less per kWh for solar when compared to conventional electricity.
WSSC General Manager/CEO Jerry N. Johnson called the purchase power agreement, “a win-win for our stewardship of the environment through more ‘green’ power, and cost-savings for ratepayers—all without WSSC adding to its debt.”
Solar is expected to reduce WSSC’s carbon footprint by approximately 3.5 percent or 3,200 metric tons of greenhouse gases. It is expected to provide as much as 32 percent of the electricity required to operate the plants.
Construction at the plants is expected to start in May 2013, with solar operations beginning in fall of 2013.
WSSC already buys wind energy that provides about 30 percent of the power at our Potomac Water Filtration Plant, and will continue to evaluate other opportunities to use alternative energy sources.
Established in 1918, today WSSC is among the largest water and wastewater utilities in the nation, with a network of nearly 5,600 miles of fresh water pipeline and more than 5,400 miles of sewer pipeline. Serving 1.8 million residents in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, WSSC drinking water has always met or exceeded federal standards.