Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority
Camden City, NJ – In 2010, the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority (CCMUA) set an audacious goal for itself: treat 60 million gallons of wastewater a day at with a source of power that was 100% renewable, and cheaper than the electricity from the local utility. Recognizing that solar was enjoying a major growth spurt in New Jersey, the CCMUA invited several solar development groups to tour the Camden County Wastewater Treatment Plant. However each group reached the same conclusion – because the plant was mainly comprised of open water treatment tanks, solar was not viable on a meaningful scale.
Discouraged but determined to find a solution, the CCMUA issued a bid for solar power services. HelioSage responded, convinced that with some additional engineering a solution similar to a solar carport could be deployed, putting to use the majority of a treatment facility that was otherwise unusable for any other purpose. Because the project only made sense if the CCMUA could generate energy savings, the design had to not only be robust, it had to be cost effective. HelioSage believed this combination was attainable and in 2011 signed an agreement to sell solar power to the CCMUA at a price that was a significant reduction to the utility.
In July, 2012 the CCMUA Solar Center was commissioned as a 1.8 Megawatt solar energy system comprised of more than 7,200 solar panels spanning seven acres of open tanks. The innovative design includes a canopy mounting system standing 8-9 feet tall, designed to resist corrosion from brackish water, carbonic acid, and hydrogen sulfide. Under a Power Purchase Agreement, the CCMUA faced no capital expenditures, and will not be responsible for any operations and maintenance costs. The CCMUA’s only financial responsibility is to pay a monthly solar energy bill that is fixed at grid-discounted prices for 15 years. The CCMUA estimates it will save several million dollars in energy costs over that time frame.
Today the Camden Solar Center powers one of America’s most progressive water treatment plants, providing electricity for a critical civic function while eliminating greenhouse gases and savings money for ratepayers. HelioSage is proud to count the CCMUA as a partner and an example of the possibilities of solar energy.