Energy & Sustainability Projects

    To meet the goals of the Carbon Free Water by 2015 Program, the Sonoma County Water Agency has implemented several energy production, energy efficiency, and sustainability projects. Below is the list of projects completed and currently underway.

    Photovoltaic Systems

    The Agency has three photovoltaic systems that total nearly 2 MW (megawatts). The administration building has a 0.5 MW system that has panels flush on the roof and panels on a carport-like structure in the parking lot.  The Airport Larkfield Wastewater Treatment Plant has a 0.5 MW fixed system that is ground mounted around the edge of one of the storage ponds. The Sonoma Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant has a 1.0 MW tracking system that is ground mounted in a field adjacent to a storage pond.  The Agency continues to investigate additional opportunities for solar power generation. For more information, visit the Photovoltaic Systems page.


    Photovoltaic Systems

    Floating Solar PV System

    In September 2016, a pilot floating solar photovoltaic (PV) system was launched on our Oceanview recycled water pond just north of Santa Rosa. The Water Agency is leasing the surface of the pond to Pristine Sun to develop this pilot demonstration system for six months. This 40 foot by 40 foot floating system supports 40 PV panels. Eight 2-ton piles of rock support cables attached to the aluminum support structure mounted on 30 polyethylene floats.  Pristine Sun will monitor the floating PV system movement, flexibility, temperature, cable tension, and other variables during the pilot test. Pristine Sun is financing, designing, building, owning, operating, and maintaining the floating PV system atop the Oceanview pond. The Water Agency would ultimately purchase the power produced from the Oceanview floating PV system to cost effectively offset power consumed at the Oceanview recycled water pump station and 49 other Water Agency power accounts. After appropriate permits and approvals are in place, the project would move forward with implementing one megawatt alternating current (MWac) floating solar system across the entire Oceanview pond. In addition, the Water Agency is leasing additional recycled water pond surfaces to Pristine Sun to allow them to develop up to 12 MWac of floating solar PV systems. Pristine Sun is developing this 12 MWac of floating solar PV to sell the power under a power purchase agreement to Sonoma Clean Power.



    Warm Springs Hydroelectric Dam

    After the Warm Springs Dam was completed in 1984, a hydroelectric turbine was installed a few years later and has been producing electricity since the late 1980s.  This turbine is capable of generating 2.6 MW of electricity.  Since energy production is influenced by the flow of water through the dam, power production is usually at about 1.3 MW.  Annual energy production ranges from 9,000 MWh to 15,000 MWh.  The Agency collaborates with the Army Corps of Engineers in the operation of the hydroelectric dam.

    Warm Springs Hydroelectric Dam

    Wind Turbine - Geyserville Sanitation Zone

    On Thursday January 3rd 2013, a wind turbine was erected at the Geyserville Sanitation Zone wastewater treatment plant. 

    The purpose of this partially grant funded project is to develop and demonstrate a model for a locally owned, cost-effective, renewable energy portfolio that would help Sonoma County reach its greenhouse gas reduction goals and help the Water Agency reach its goal of delivering Carbon Free Water by 2015.

    Learn more about the Geyserville Sanitation Zone Wind Turbine

    Wind Turbine - Geyserville Sanitation Zone

    Community Choice Aggregation (Sonoma Clean Power)

    On March 22, 2011, the Sonoma County Water Agency Board of Directors directed the Water Agency to investigate Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) while concurrently approving the Water Agency’s Energy Policy. Community Choice Aggregation allows one or more cities and/or counties to form a service area that provides for the purchase of power generation of customers within that service area. Transmission, distribution, customer service and billing remain the same, delivered through the existing utility (PG&E). Customers within this service area can opt out of participating in the CCA program and continue to receive their power generation services through the existing utility. For more information, the Community Choice Aggregation page.

    Community Choice Aggregation

    Energy Efficiency Improvements

    In the years following the purchase of the administration building, several projects have been implemented to reduce facility’s power requirements.  Energy efficiency improvements included window film application, lighting retrofits, and LED installation.  The window film saves energy by reducing the amount of heat transferred through the glass.  This means that less energy is used to regulate the internal climate of the facility, because there is less of an external influence.  The film application has a lifetime of 15 years and saves the Agency approximately 30,000 kWh annually.  Almost half of the lighting retrofits were paid for through the Association of Bay Area Governments.  The savings were achieved by pairing higher quality tubes with more efficient ballasts and eliminating unnecessary lights (aka delamping) in areas of low usage.  More than 600 fixtures were retrofitted and provides the Agency approximately 62,000 kWh in annual savings.  Each of the 16 LED tubes used to replace fluorescent tubes have lifetime of 50,000 hours, which last twice as long as the best fluorescent tubes in the market today.  The Agency saves approximately 300 kWh annually, assuming 40 hours of weekly operation for 52 weeks.

    Energy Efficiency

    Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Fleet

    The Water Agency is currently greening our fleet with electric, plug-in hybrid, and hybrid vehicles. To reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from its transportation needs, the Agency purchased its first hybrid electric vehicle in 2006. As of 2014, the Agency has 29 hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, comprising almost 20% of the entire fleet. The Water Agency has joined a coalition of Bay Area local governments to pursue a grant through the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to fund fleet electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. Through the grant, the Water Agency has received funding to supplement the purchase of five electric vehicles. In addition to charging stations already located at several Water Agency facilities, five charging stations are planned for installation by the end of the year through the grant.

    Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid vehicles

    Recycling Program

    The Agency has an active recycling program at its administration building and its operations and maintenance center.  Paper, plastics, glass, and aluminum cans are all recycled with the help of designated bins in the kitchens, copy rooms, conference rooms, and cubicles.  Recycled paper is ordered for copiers and printers and recycled presentation materials are used whenever possible.  The Agency also participates in recycling ink cartridges from its printers.  Opportunities to recycle e-waste are also available and bins are provided on site for Agency employees annually.

    Recycling Program

    Water Education & Conservation Programs

    The Agency has well-established water education and conservation programs. For more information about the Water Education program, click here.  For more information about the Water Conservation Program, click here.

    Water Education Program