Arizona RO plant gets solar energy boost

The Arizona town of Gila Bend is to build a 460 kW photovoltaic solar‑energy system to power its 1 MGD (3,785 m³/d) reverse‑osmosis (RO) water treatment system.

Solon Corporation of Tucson, a subsidiary of the German Solon Group, announced on 10 July 2012 that it had begun construction of the plant.
Solon will engineer, design, construct and commission the fixed-tilt system, expected to be completed later this year. As a full-service system provider, Solon will continue to operate and maintain the system on behalf of the town once it is operational.

Once completed, the system is expected to provide an 86% energy usage offset to the town’s RO facility, resulting in significant annual electricity cost savings. The project development and system ownership is being financed through a State of Arizona grant – part of the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority grant awarded to the Town of Gila Bend for drinking water infrastructure improvements.

“Energy costs associated with operating a water treatment facility can account for a large portion of its total operating budget. These facilities also tend to have surrounding areas of land that are otherwise unusable,” said Jared Schoch, vice president and general manager, power plants for Solon.

“Solon’s proven experience building systems for water and wastewater treatment facilities combined with solar being an extremely efficient use of land is a winning combination and a great way to lower a facility’s operating costs,” he said.