Santa Margarita Water District to pair 12 MWh battery system with 1 MW solar array

santa margarita lake

Santa Margarita Water District (District) provides safe, reliable drinking water, recycled water and wastewater services to over 200,000 residents in nine unique communities in California. The District is the second largest retail water agency in Orange County, by area, and third largest by customers served.

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Scale Microgrid Solutions is working with the District to install, finance, and operate 12MWh of energy storage systems at their water and wastewater treatment facilities. The projects are designed to increase the resilience of the community’s water supplies while also reducing costs. The facilities are in CPUC designated “High Fire Threat Territories” and are prone to utility power shut offs due to possible or actual wildfires. The projects will provide 8+ hours of clean backup power in the event of such an outage, eliminating the need for polluting diesel fuel. Another benefit of the projects comes from the reduction in the District’s energy costs, which have been rising quickly in recent years.

At the Chiquita Water Reclamation Plant, the energy storage system will pair with the site’s existing 1MW of solar PV to store clean energy generated during the day and discharge in the evenings when energy prices are high and grid power is predominantly provided by natural gas power plants.

The project is utilizing the state’s Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) to offset the initial cost of the batteries. Scale will own and operate the batteries for the District, prioritizing savings and carbon reduction during normal operations, and fully charging before announced power shutoff events to provide clean resiliency to the plants. The systems will also enroll in utility demand response programs and contribute to the overall stability of the grid during peak periods.

“The District is looking forward to working with Scale on the implementation phase of this project. We feel that the end product will benefit our customers through increased resiliency coupled with the ability to reduce energy costs, all while lowering our carbon footprint,” says Don Bunts, Deputy General Manager at Santa Margarita Water District.

“I cannot think of anything more important than access to reliable water, especially in high fire threat areas,” says Ryan Goodman, CEO and co-founder of Scale Microgrid Solutions. “This innovative project will provide Santa Margarita Water District with the energy independence to prepare for future environmental and economic challenges.”

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